MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT: BENEFITS OF FLOOR TIME

four month old baby enjoys tummy time

Recently in class a mother of a 4 month old baby was talking about her living room space.  She and her husband enjoy watching sports on the weekend and  she was wondering where to put the baby while watching the games.  I asked her if she had some space on the floor.  I suggested she push the coffee table off to the side of the room to make an area for the baby to play.  I discussed choosing a quilt or a play mat to cover the area for baby.  The mother looked at me with a questioning face and said, “But iI feel bad putting her down like that.  Doesn’t she like sitting up better?”  I replied, “You might feel that way because we sit up all the time as adults.  Many adults are not comfortable on their tummies on the floor, so we fear babies are not either.  Your daughter will love floor time if she is comfortable and has some toys.  She will have a great time.”  The mother smiled and said “Oh.  That makes sense.”

During class we explored the motor skill of rolling.  The babies were guided from tummy time into a roll onto their backs.  Later they were guided from their backs onto their tummy.  The parents learned tips for motor skill development to practice at home such as bending and stretching baby’s legs, rubbing the abdomen, and rolling baby onto her side.  I explained the importance of floor time for baby to learn how to roll.  “In a sitting position it is almost impossible for the baby to learn how to roll because much less of her body is in contact with the ground.   She must learn how to shift her weight and move her arm or leg to take her onto her side and tummy/back,” I said.  The moms noticed how the babies enjoyed being moved from their backs to their sides and finally to their tummies, and then back to their backs again.

The following week at class the mother who asked questions about floor time was smiling when she arrived at class.  “Guess who has been enjoying floor time?!?  She is doing tummy time and rolling all over the place.  She loves it!”  The mother continued to explain that she and her husband were enjoying watching sports and keeping the baby near them on a play mat.  All seemed to be enjoying this family time!

 

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