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The Ultimate Guide to the Basics: Tummy Time and Crawling

The Ultimate Guide to the Basics: Tummy Time and Crawling

Tummy time is one of the first exercises a baby does — and one of the most important! Tummy time is the portion of the day your baby spends awake and on their stomach. It aids in motor, visual and sensory development. This article will go over the basics of tummy time and crawling and what you as a parent need to know. We'll also highlight how a Yay! Mats tummy time mat for crawling can be a safe and fun aid during this important activity.

A baby having tummy time on the floor

How Does Tummy Time Help With Development?

Doctors recommend placing your baby on its back when sleeping for safety, but time spent on its tummy is essential for development. When a baby is on their stomach, they move their head to see their surroundings. Lifting their head and moving it from side to side increases strength in the eye, neck, shoulder and abdominal muscles. Tummy time and crawling also help prevent babies from developing flat spots on their heads. Being on their tummies helps build their muscles so they can start crawling — without tummy time, there can be a delay in this important milestone.

Tummy Time: How to Get Started

Tummy time doesn't have to be complicated or stressful. Start off with just a minute or two, then increase the time spent on the stomach until you reach an hour per day. Here are some tips on how to get started:

  • Age - Tummy time can be started as a newborn and traditionally goes until the baby starts crawling or is about a year old.
  • Time - Your goal should be at least an hour of tummy time total per day by the time your baby is three months old. This hour should start out broken up into smaller segments and then gradually build up from there.
  • Safety First - Childproof the area where tummy time will take place, and never leave your child unattended.
  • Tummy Down on Lap - This is a great way to introduce tummy time to your baby. When you act like the floor, your child is in a familiar place and will be less anxious.
  • Same Level - Babies love face-to-face interactions! Encourage eye contact and see how they react to your different facial expressions.
  • Tummy Time Crawling Mat - Don't just place baby directly on a dirty floor. Use a tummy time mat for crawling to keep them away from dust, animal fur and other debris.

How to Make Tummy Time and Crawling Fun

When babies are first exposed to tummy time, they may not know what to do. This may frighten them, so start by incorporating tummy time into other activities such as drying them off after a bath or after each diaper change. Make sure that your baby is awake, fed and happy, then place them on their tummy time crawling mat. Let's get started with these fun activities:

  • Be their workout buddy - sing, make funny noises, change your facial expressions.
  • Boost your baby with a small rolled towel under their chest to change up their perspective.
  • Add visual interest by creating a book wall around them or adding an activity gym.
  • Scatter toys around your baby so they will have something to look at and reach for. As they grow stronger, toys can motivate them to start crawling.
  • Add a mirror so your baby can see their reflection.

As they get older, encourage your child to wiggle on their bellies and try to reach their toys. This will help inspire them to really get moving.

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Stylish Tummy Time and Crawling Mats for the Modern Home

Tummy time is an exciting time for your baby — and you! Choose a safe and comfortable tummy time mat for crawling from our stylish collection of interlocking foam floor tiles. Our modern and tasteful designs blend beautifully with your home's decor. Find your perfect tummy time crawling mat today!

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