At what age do babies roll over? Learn more about this important baby milestone here!
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At what age do babies roll over?
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 while lying on their backs 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.
Why is learning to roll so important?
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 core strengthening and overall body strengthening so that, eventually, baby can move on to more exciting tricks like learning to crawl and sitting up.
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 and in his or her own way. If you are still concerned, check out this article: My Child Isn’t Rolling, Should I Be Concerned? from 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.
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.
Position babies on one side during play (placing a toy on the floor for them to look at)
Carry babies in different positions
Upright, tucked, in sidelying on either side – carrying in different positions can help babies get used to that type of movement experience.
Rocking and rolling
Playfully rock your baby from side to side using her shoulders or her legs while singing a favorite song. This gives her the feel of using the different segments of her body to move.
Foot rattles that velcro around the ankles or foot finders like these are great for encouraging baby to get those feet up in the air, where he’ll begin using them to rock side to side.
Slide and ride
Try making a little “ride” for baby! Fold up a blanket to make a padded surface and pull her around the floor either while she’s lying on her back or during tummy time. This is great for weight shifting and balance.
Finally, once you can see that the baby is comfortable with all of these great movement experiences, you can assist the baby in rolling from tummy to back and from back to tummy (helping her support her head and neck if needed)
Want more ideas? Check out Mama OT’s 10 tips for helping babies roll.
Learn more about baby milestones here and find some of our favorite activities for babies here.
Check out all of our information about developmental milestones for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
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