You know “tummy time” or “floor time” for babies? It’s really for grown-ups too!
I invite you to come down to your baby’s point of view and experience the world through her perspective–face to face, on her level.
Truly, one of the best things we grown-ups can do for our babies is to bring ourselves down to their level. This has implications not only on motor development, but on self confidence and relationship skills, as well as leadership skills and being a compassionate and responsible member of society.
What is your baby currently doing?
Lying on her tummy?
Or on her side or back? Fabulous! Enjoy lying down with her. Go ahead, give yourself permission!
No joke, give it a try yourself and you’ll discover why this stage can be so challenging!
On hands & knees?
Starting to bounce on hands and knees, or crawling? Explore this angle on the world together, play chase, and remind yourself of being a kid and finding special little nooks and crannies to explore!
Of course you'll be holding her too
… perhaps when you’re standing. Try sometimes holding her up high enough so that she’s face to face with you. Make a moment for connection.
Shouldn’t we help them see what’s going on?
Society tends to encourage lovingly trying to bring babies up to our level—to prop them up in sitting or standing so they can be up higher and look around. After all, “up high” is where all her loved ones are! Babies want to see what’s going on and be a part of everything, right?
Yes and no. That desire to get up higher is part of Baby’s motivation to learn how, from her tummy or back, to:
- raise her head
- push up on her hands
- roll and belly crawl to travel across the floor
- sit independently
- come up to hands and knees to bounce and crawl
- pull up to standing
- …and walk
However, if she’s not doing the positions or movements by herself already, then her body and brain aren’t ready. There’s more sensory information “up high” than she’s truly able to make sense of in that moment. She’s gaining a ton of valuable experience by continuing to do whatever she’s already doing on the floor!
Why is this so important?
Going down to Baby’s level gives us an inside glimpse of what it takes to learn“from scratch” how to move.
We appreciate the mindset required to do what she’s learning–and we can better understand the frustrations.
We become a mirror to Baby’s process. In doing so, we communicate that we see her and accept her where she is. She can trust herself–we don’t need her to please us. This lays an extremely important foundation for school-learning later in life.
But not only that–can you see how much this applies to communication and relationship skills? Children are are future society and future leaders. It’s critical that we understand how to support them in these foundation-building ways that reach far beyond babyhood, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Back to your baby in this moment… By coming down to Baby’s level, you can build relationship and connection. Tummy time and motor development become about “being” together, not just “doing” together. Enjoy this precious time with your Baby.
© Elizabeth Parker 2011, 2014, and 2020, All Rights Reserved
I am so grateful for the information that you share on your blog – thank you for making it available to the public! Can you comment on whether there is such a thing as too much tummy time? My 5 mo. daughter spends a great deal of supervised time in this position, and recently I spotted a “guideline” that suggests that the length tummy time should be limited, with different recommendations for different age groups, i.e., 2-5 minutes twice per day for infants who can raise their heads independently, increasing with age and ability.
Thanks; you’re welcome! Generally, no there’s no such thing as too much tummy time. However, I would specify 2 things as even more important: that she lie on ALL FOUR sides (tummy, back, and both sides) and that she’s rolled into and out of tummy time rather than put straight down onto her tummy. If/when she can roll from front to back by herself, she’ll have choice. I”m not familiar with the guideline you mention, but sometimes when I see a guideline on amount of time, it’s geared toward babies who have discomfort in tummy time, but your baby seems comfortable. On the tummy is where many reflexes kick in that lead to movement; and where recuperation can happen.
More info here on the above: http://consciousbabyblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/tummy-time-should-you-or-shouldnt-you/
Lastly, my perspective is that “often” and “make it part of your daily routine in many ways and times throughout the day” are more important than counting minutes. Thanks for following!
Eliza tells it like it is once again!