We’re circling back around to the baby crowd to talk about rolling as part of our ABCs of Child Development Series.
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We don’t usually spend too much time on the baby years here at The Inspired Treehouse — definitely something we need to improve on! A few weeks ago, we brought you the letter N for Newborn Reflexes and today we’ll address rolling, another important developmental skill for babies.
Babies learn to roll as a means of getting from one place to another. They may roll from their tummy to back as early as 2 months (usually by 5 months) and usually respond to their newfound maneuver with a giant startle reflex!
After they have that down pat, you may notice them rocking their legs back and forth or reaching as far as they can over their bodies until they accomplish rolling from their back to tummy. This usually happens between 5-7 months after they have gained additional head, arm, and trunk control.
Babies will usually roll toward something motivating like a toy that lights up or makes sound or even toward a doting parent. It is their first taste of mobility and may often lead to consecutive rolls to get from one point to another. Be sure to be vigilant and stay nearby during diaper changes or dressing because once your baby figures out how to move, she will take every opportunity to practice whether you are ready or not!
Besides mobility, rolling works on some less obvious developmental skills. One big benefit — getting both sides of the body to work together to achieve a goal! This is bilateral coordination and it is a skill that is extremely important for crawling and walking, transferring toys from one hand to another and, later, for handwriting, reading, independent dressing, and higher level gross motor skills.
Rolling also plays a big part in continuing to strengthen the neck, back, core, and arm muscles so that, eventually, baby can move on to more exciting tricks like crawling and sitting up. Who knew that your baby is preparing for such big things so early on in her life?
What if your baby doesn’t roll and moves straight into sitting or pushing up into crawling? As long as his developmental skills are progressing, no worries! Every child develops at his or her own pace. If you are still concerned, check out this article: My Child Isn’t Rolling, Should I Be Concerned? from Stacy at Starfish Therapies.
How can you encourage your baby to start rolling?
–Get your baby out of “baby containers” as much as possible. Limit time in the car seat, Bumbo, Johnny Jump Up, whatever! Get down on that floor and talk to her. Encourage her to come to you.
–Tummy time!! I know we preach this one all the time, but tummy time is so important for the development of strength and control in your baby’s head/neck/trunk/arm muscles. Here are 5 awesome toys we love to help encourage tummy time.
-Want more ideas? Check out Mama OT’s 10 tips for helping babies roll.
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At The Inspired Treehouse, we believe that information about developmental skills and child development should be accessible to everyone, not just medical professionals. You won’t find a lot of complicated lingo here – we prefer breaking things down into terms that are a little less intimidating. That’s why we’re bringing you this awesome series: The ABCs of Child Development!
Over the next few months, we’ll be making our way through the alphabet, assigning the letters to different developmental skills. From gross motor to fine motor to sensory and more…when it comes to developmental terminology (and easy-to-understand definitions), you’ll find everything you’re looking for all in one place!