I’ve been spending a lot of time with my son on tummy time since the doctor said he could have a stronger back and neck, and I cannot believe how much difference quality tummy time has made for my son. When I was first doing tummy time, I would place my baby on his tummy on a blanket. A bare blanket, and wondered why he was not lifting his head. After I took Michael to his first mommy-n-me class and I saw how other babies were holding up their head and showing more flexibility in their back, I knew I was doing something wrong. I was so busy trying to get Michael to be on his tummy for an hour a day, that I was not thinking of the quality of the hour. Quality that included colors, shapes, numbers, and letters.
After attending several mommy-n-me sessions, I decided to think outside the box, and bring what we did in class to our tummy time at home. I started taking out toys, and making different stations for him that he would complete on his tummy. Now, not only is he enjoying tummy time, he is getting his neck and back stronger by looking higher than he normally did without any toys in front of him.
Tummy time set up went from a plain blanket to a full blown learning station done on our tummy.
- Sensory balls–This is the only station that he does on intentionally on his back. He will lay on his back, and I will give the balls to him one at a time. At this stage, he is putting everything to his mouth.
- Alphabet station–Along with Dr. Seuss’ ABC book, I also have flashcards with a letter of the day. He lays on his tummy, looks at the letters and I let him hold an object containing that letter.
- Color Flashcards–The color station is where I can get really creative. I either bring out colorful beanbags, or colorful fruit in relation to the “color of the day”. This way he is on his tummy, and looking at different colors, and even touching items which different textures.
- Reading Station–I usually have a book out. By this time, he gets tired, and I roll him onto his back. he will lay there and I read the book out to him, and let him look at the pictures.
- Trunk Raises Station–I normally have taller toys here, so when he is on his tummy he can look up higher, raising his trunk higher and working on his upper back muscles.
- Fun Station–I put different items out and let him play on his own for the last 5 minutes before he’s so tired, worn out, and needs his bottle.