Help Your Baby to Learn How to Roll Over: The Role of the Parent in the Early Development of Motor Skills
When your baby first enters your life, her daily routine largely consists of eating, sleeping, pooping and then starting over again. However, you will notice each new facial expression and movement by your baby.
When your baby reaches four months or so, you’ll be happy to see her more eagerly interacting with her world. She’ll be testing boundaries and preparing her little body for movement in the future.
How Can You Help?
Rolling over is a natural instinct, and necessary for crawling, scooting and generally getting around. There are several things you can do to help your baby roll sooner.
Look for signs that your baby is ready to roll. If you try too soon, you won’t be successful. Signs that she is trying include lifting her head up or reaching for her toys. These will signal you that her neck muscles are becoming stronger.
To assist her, give her plenty of supervised tummy time. This can be a regular activity, and can help her to become more agile. When you spend time on the floor with your infant, you will encourage the muscles your baby needs when she is ready to roll. Read more about helping your baby to roll here.
Using Toys as Motivation
Use her toys to entice your baby to become a roller. Enticing, colorful toys like rattles can be placed in front of your baby, and moved from one side to the other, once she is paying attention to it. As she is watching the moving toy, she will become motivated to roll to the side where the toy is, according to studies at UC Berkeley.
You can give your baby a little boost if she needs it, too. If it appears as though she is definitely trying to roll, but can’t quite make it happen, you can grasp her upper thigh and help her roll to the side and then onto her tummy.
Give Lots of Praise
Your baby is old enough for positive reinforcement. When she rolls, offer her lots of smiles, squeals and clapping. This helps her to associate her new feat with feelings that are positive. She can show off her new skills during playtime on the floor.
You can also help your baby by the use of one of her blankets. Lay her on her blanket and wait for her to try to roll over. Use the blanket to help her from the highest point of her almost-roll to foster a rolling movement. She may give you a smile at this new feat, and could be more anxious to try it herself.
Use Her Momentum
The direction of the roll does make a difference to your baby, especially at first. Rolling is usually easier from her belly to her back, so give your baby lots of tummy time for practicing. Does she try to roll right or left? Most babies to have a preference, says Parenting.com, and it’s better to go with whatever is most comfortable for her.
When your baby is on her back, you can also help by holding her hands and gently pulling her upward. This will strengthen her core muscles, as will taking both of her legs and gently rolling her from stomach to back and then vice versa. The milestone will be sure to please you both.