Rolling. A major milestone for any baby to conquer and one that heralds baby mobility. Between 3 and 4 months your baby starts showing signs of wanting to roll and usually by 6 months he will be rolling. Whether it’s from tummy to back, or vice versa – or both – this is a biggy to master in his first year. Here are some games and activities that you can play with your baby to encourage his development. Make sure you use a surface that is low (like the floor) so that your baby can’t roll off, and that it’s soft enough for his head to move around on. A blanket or muslin cloth on a carpet is great, and if the weather’s fine then a patch of grass with a beach towel or kikoy is fantastic.
Babies often roll over for the first time by mistake! They do this from back to tummy when they have been playing with their feet, and roll sideways. Encourage lots of hand to foot and foot to mouth play in your little 3 – 5 month olds to get this going, and spend time on the floor with them encouraging them to roll over to you
Rolling from tummy to back often happens when your little one has tried to reach for something with one hand while on his tummy, and stretches so much that he rolls over! This is all the more reason to encourage plenty of tummy time, and ensure he is happy in this position.
This is a simple exercise that you can try out in the beginning stages of your baby’s rolling journey. And, as the name suggests, you do this all while singing “Rockabye Baby”.
Start off with your baby on his back and take hold of his ankles.
Once you have his ankles in your hands, take hold of his hands.
Once you have all his limbs in the centre, you can begin singing.
Gently rock your baby onto his side.
Bring him into the middle…
And over to the other side. Continue this rocking motion from side to side as you sing the rhyme. This will get your baby used to the idea and feeling of the movement needed to roll onto his side.
Lyrics for Rockabye Baby:
On the tree top.
When the wind breaks,
The cradle will rock.
When the bow breaks,
The cradle will fall,
And down will come baby,
Cradle and all.
Upper and Lower:
At around 3-3 months, your baby develops the ability to move his upper and lower body separately. This allows him to twist his body over the midline and assists in starting to roll with his hips. Place a toy next to him to encourage him to do more of the activity as he tries to reach it. Sing along with a song as you rock from side to side and don’t forget to watch your baby’s response to make sure he is enjoying it.
Begin with your baby on his back and take hold of both of his legs at the shin.
Moving the legs together, rock them to one side…
And then the other. Do this a few times to get him used to the movement of moving his legs together without his upper body.
Then proceed to aiding him to take hold of his foot with the opposite hand. Let’s start with having his left hand grab his right foot…
And then swap around to having his right hand take hold of his left foot. Again, do this a few times so that he becomes familiar with the feeling and the movement. Sing along to a nursery rhyme throughout to help you keep rhythm, and to increase the fun.