While milestones are exciting to track as your baby grows up, it’s important to remember all babies reach them differently. Some children take longer during particular developmental stages, then race through others. For first-time parents, it’s difficult to know if they’re on track. This holds true when it comes to rolling over. Babies typically begin to roll over around the four-month mark, but this isn’t a deadline for every baby.
Encouraging Them to Roll Over: Tummy Time & Toys
A first step for some babies might be rocking from side-to-side while on their backs, which becomes the foundation for rolling over. You can help them by encouraging some tummy time in their daily routines. Tummy Time is the time during the day your baby spends on their tummy while they are awake.
According to a journal by The American Academy of Pediatrics, “[A] lack of ‘tummy time’ seems to delay the development of motor skills such as rolling over and crawling.” More than that, they recommend that babies sleep on their backs and not their stomachs to prevent SIDS.
Tummy time makes use of their wakefulness and strengthens their head, neck and upper body muscles. This helps to build the strength and coordination needed for reaching other milestones, as well. You can begin implementing up to an hour of tummy time per day by the time they’re three months old. Monitor their movements, as babies normally become a bit frustrated, so aim for a few minutes at a time.
This is a slow, but rewarding process. First, they’ll roll over from tummy to back, and by six months they may roll over in both directions.
To encourage your baby to roll over, place your baby on a blanket or mat on the floor with a toy or a picture-book to one side. Their attention will focus on the object and they’ll eventually begin to turn and reach for the item.
An alternative to toys or books is for you to lie on their side and out of reach to see if your baby will roll over to get closer. As they begin solidifying this skill, it’s important to keep an eye on them at all times. Never leave them unattended on an elevated surface, as they can roll over and injure themselves.
Remember your baby is growing and it takes every baby a different amount of time to reach a certain developmental stage. This is especially true for premature babies. Preemies may roll over and reach other milestones later than other babies their age.
What’s next? Crawling.