Message from Kharma: Tummy Time

PIC infant on tummy time

written by Kharma Hicks, Infant/Toddler Coordinator

The importance of tummy time

Tummy time, as we like to call it, helps strengthen the muscles in the neck, back, arms and shoulders, and promotes large motor skills. Research suggests that babies that spend time on their tummies are more likely to roll over, crawl on their stomachs, crawl on all fours and sit without support than children who don’t practice tummy time. 

Usually tummy time on the floor should begin around three to four months old and should be for a total of at least twenty minutes throughout the day (at 3-5 minute intervals). However, even for newborns it is developmentally appropriate to lay babies across your lap for a few minutes. Around six months is when dedicated tummy time can stop.

Don’t be surprised, many babies do not like tummy time. Some babies may get fussy during the exercise, however, changing the activity and being actively engaged may help. They gradually get to a level of comfort as their body strengthens. Always remember that no child should be left unsupervised during tummy time.  

One very important part to tummy time is the entertainment from the caregiver! Using mirrors, rattles and all sorts of toys that make sounds babies like. If you ever peek in on the infants, you will notice teachers positioning themselves at the baby’s level and engaging with them during this time.

Given that babies spend so much time on their backs while sleeping, it is important to allow ample time for them to spend on their tummies while they are awake. With the changes made to recommendations about how to put babies to sleep, making an effort for tummy time has become even more important.