Tips and Tricks- Try kneeling if your kiddo hates tummy time

kneeling at table

The #1 thing parents report about their kiddos when they present with some motor delays, is that their child “hates tummy time.”  And as a result, most parents say they just have them sit since they feel bad, and then gradually that kiddo will become behind with crawling or just start bottom scooting because there’s no magical way to learn how to crawl when you’re sitting all the time.

To learn about bottom scooting and why I try to modify this behavior, read my previous post.

I’m not going to be the crazy therapist that says “your baby must crawl or else!”  But I will be your typical physical therapist and stress the importance of increasing strength in muscles that are required for functional activities like walking.

So with that, if your child realllyyyy hates crawling and tummy time or is a professional bottom scooter and you don’t feel like changing their mode of mobility, I suggest at least try kneeling.

Here’s my reasons why:

  1. Kneeling is not as tiring or difficult as crawling, since you’re not forced to hold a push up or plank position.
  2. Kneeling is simpler than crawling since it is a static activity rather than a coordinated activity so hopefully your kiddo will be less frustrated.
  3. Tall kneeling (kneeling without your kid’s bottom resting on their ankles-like in the pic to the right) works on strengthening abs, hips, and bottoms, which are crucial to the progression of independent walking.
  4. You will need to learn how to kneel in order to pull up to standing at a support surface, which will help progress to standing, cruising, and walking.
  5. Kneeling at a support encourages putting weight through one’s hands and shoulders, which will increase arm and shoulder strength, which is useful when you’re learning to walk where you’ll need to use your arms to protect yourself when falling as well as to push yourself back up every time you fall.
  6. Kneeling at a support and putting weight on your hands also works on hand-eye coordination as your kiddo will have to learn how to hold on with 1 hand while they manipulate a toy with the other.

You can make kneeling challenging by:

  1. Lowering the height of the support surface (like kneeling at a step stool) will make it more challenging for shoulder, abs, and hip muscles.
  2. Kneeling against an unstable surface like a ball or stroller or push toy will work on balance and strength.
  3. Kneeling on an unstable surface like pillow, foam mat, or couch cushion.
  4. Make sure they aren’t sitting back on their heels or in a W-sit position, as those positions don’t encourage increasing strength and balance.
  5. Make sure to have a super interesting toy or object to keep their attention/distract them while kneeling, make sure you make it fun and not boring!
  6. Make sure they are kneeling on a comfortable surface, kneeling on tile/hardwood is not going to make it a fun activity! If those are your only options, I would fold a towel or blanket or use a couch cushion, or yoga mat

here are some pics of kiddos kneeling I found on google:


  <– baby at low support surface

Categories: Tips and Tricks Tuesdays

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