Crawling and Tummy Time is not just for Babies! How to support your child's strength and development
By: Sara Wilbert OTR/L 12/4/22
When we hear the words tummy time and crawling we think of babies who are not walking yet. These are definitely necessary activities that ALL babies should be doing (even if some people say it's not). The list of benefits for tummy time and crawling on the development of sensory and motor skills is very very long!!!
These two activities help to develop tactile sensation, visual skills, upper body strength, core/abdominal strength and integration of the reflexes, to name just a few benefits. But if your child did not or was not able to participate in these activities as a baby for whatever reason, it is not too late to start now!
Even as a preschooler or young child children can be positioned on their belly for coloring or playing games. At first your child may fatigue quickly and need breaks, however it can improve their upper body strength for play and posture for sitting in a chair. Playing games that require being on the hands and knees or weight bearing through the hands, such as the game of twister or crawling through a tunnel, can help to improve a child's core strength and upper body strength. Strong core and upper body strength will support a child's handwriting skills and ability to manipulate objects.
There are many reasons why a child may have difficulty with maintaining or assuming the positions for tummy time and crawling including low muscle tone, developmental disabilities or the medically fragile.
A pediatric occupational therapist can perform an evaluation of your child's strength and motor skills to determine whether they would benefit from therapy and can suggest specific activities tailored to your child's individual needs.
Below are some activities that incorporate tummy time and crawling into your child's play routine:
Coloring or playing a board game on the tummy
Laying on a kick board in the pool
Going down a slide on the tummy
Laying on a swing on the tummy
Crawling through a tunnel on the playground
Climbing up a slide
Digging to plant flowers or at the beach on hands and knees
Climbing on a jungle gym
***Use the contact form to schedule a 15 minute exploratory phone call or for an occupational therapy evaluation with Beacon Pediatric Therapy Services.