“Tummy time” is a phrase many parents, teachers, and therapists are familiar with. However, it’s typically only associated with babies. It’s definitely important for babies to spend time on their stomachs everyday, but “tummy time” is not just for babies! Toddlers, older kiddos, and even adults can benefit from (and even enjoy!) spending time on their tummies. But besides saying a very close “hello” to the ground, what’s it for?

“Tummy time” is important because it:

  • Increases neck strength and head control
  • Increases back and arm strength
  • Works on using upper body muscles in a coordinated manner
  • Increases strength and endurance of core muscles

And why are those things important? They help with:

  • Upright head and body position to participate in communication
  • Strong arms and core muscles for handwriting, climbing, throwing and catching balls
  • Endurance of postural muscles for sitting upright in class for increased focus and participation
  • Coordination for climbing, riding a bike, swinging a bat, playing sports

And although “planking” is pretty popular lately (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planking_(fad) ), “tummy time” doesn’t always need to look like laying flat on the ground. There are so many ways to spend time on your “tummy” and improve those areas listed above. Check out some pretty adorable kiddos showing off different ways to spend time on their tummies!

Laying over legs, this little guy is working hard to hold one arm up while turning the page of a book with his other arm.

Another kiddo working on the same skill – holding one arm up while playing with the other arm. He’s laying over a foam block to do the same thing. A pillow also works great!

She is swinging on her belly in a hammock swing, giving “high fives” and pushing off each time she swings up!

These two are sharing stories while laying over a stuffed pillow and a therapy ball.

Posted by: Carrie, Physical Therapist

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