Babies need exercise just as much as children and adults, but it’s a different kind of exercise. Tummy time refers to baby spending time on his or her tummy, on a blanket on the floor, supervised by you or another adult carer.
You should start introducing tummy time shortly after your baby is born. Tummy time will help your child build their head, neck and upper body strength. This is important for when baby is older. Your baby should do it a lot each day.
At first, your baby will just enjoy the different view and different position (he or she needs to sleep on their back), but soon, your baby will start to lift up his or her head or push up a bit with his arms.
Here are some tips to use when your child is playing on their tummy:
- Make sure the floor is clear of danger – other children, dogs, family activities.
- Lay a baby blanket or sheet on a carpet part of the floor, or a quiet piece of lawn outside.
- Place safe, interesting objects (a toy or a safe household item like a plastic cup) near the baby for your child to look at and play with.
- Get on the same level as your baby and have a conversation with them or read to them.
- Make sure both of you are awake and baby is supervised at all times – and pay attention when he or she starts to crawl!
- For more ideas about tummy time, see the Raising Children Network.