The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that, “Babies should be put on their stomachs while awake for 3-5 minutes at a time 2 to 3 times a day and building up.” The importance of tummy time in relation to our child’s development is one of the first things we learn from our pediatricians, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. As parents, our instinct is to protect and nurture, making it difficult for us to hear our baby cry and to witness them being uncomfortable. It is even more challenging to want to work on tummy time because of all of the equipment marketed to new parents, not to mention the time babies spend in car seats and strollers.
Tummy time woes
My daughter and I both had a difficult time with “tummy time” and as a result, she suffered from Plagiocephaly and developed a flat spot on her head. Everyone kept telling me to put her on her stomach more, yet no one had any suggestions on how to make it more bearable for both of us other than to just to suffer through it. There was virtually no support for new parents trying to help their children with tummy time. It was a very frustrating, emotional experience as a parent. My daughter continued to struggle with tummy time, crawled later and did not walk until she was 16 months old. In hindsight, the amount of pressure I felt seems silly, yet I know how helpless parents feel and how little information and support there is for them. With that experience in mind and with the help of both physical and occupational therapists from Lurie Children’s Hospital, we developed our Pre-Crawler and Pre-Walker Core Development classes to help parents and children through the developmental process.
While we can’t guarantee that your child will no longer cry occasionally while working on tummy time, our core strengthening classes will give you fun and helpful tips on how to help your child work on their core strength as well as to help you have a better understanding on how adequate tummy time helps children to develop the core, head, neck and shoulder strength necessary to crawl and eventually walk.
Why crawling is an important step
I’m often told by parents, that their child would prefer to walk over crawling, but the process of crawling is an important piece of the developmental process for children. This weight bearing activity strengthens the trunk, shoulders and hand muscles, and facilitates body awareness and motor planning. The cross lateral movement, also stimulates both sides of the brain, encouraging crucial cognitive development. In addition, after mastering the ability to reach for things while on their stomachs, when crawling a child uses their hands to guide them where they have visually determined they want to go, working on hand/eye coordination.
Getting ready to walk
All of the gross and fine motor skills learned during tummy time and crawling such as core strength, balance, and coordination in addition to crucial cognitive development, will help your child and eventually prepare them to stand up and walk. We can in fact, give them “a leg up” by exposing them to activities that encourage movement as we do in our Core Development Classes, but it is also important to understand that they will do it when they are ready. There is no reason to rush! It is our job as parents to help them to build the confidence they need to walk and we must understand that each child has the innate ability to know when they are mentally and physically ready to venture out into the world on their own two feet.
Think this class may be right for you? Check out the schedule of Core Development classes.
As Senior Director of Music, Kim collaborates with the music team to create enriching curriculum that will both entertain and engage young children and families. She leads our Professional Developmental Programming, partnering with area specialists to share their knowledge with us so we can further strengthen the support we provide families in reaching developmental milestones. She was excited to be able to use this knowledge to create Bubbles Academy’s Core Development classes, designed to help babies develop their core and upper body strength. Grateful to serve as a resource to parents, Kim is truly proud to pursue her favorite role everyday — being the mother to her daughter Laken.