Your child may be months away from walking, but it’s never too early to start working on gross motor skills. The key is to keep them staying active by showing them how they can move their body. Once you’ve practiced a few times your child will begin trying the moves on their own and eventually do it independently! Here are some specific moves you can try to get your child moving! ☺
Biking – Have your child lay on their back, pick their legs up high by grabbing their ankles, and start a cycling motion! Make sure you bring their legs close to their chest and stretch them out during the alternating movements. You can make it go fast or slow. This helps them develop stronger abs too! Try even singing a song while you do this – it’s a perfect opportunity for them to see your lips moving!
Kicking – You will notice that your baby may be kicking a lot these days or at least trying to. They are exploring and seeing what their legs can do – basically getting ready to walk! When showing them how to kick make sure you help them fully straighten out their legs. You can even start off by grabbing both of their legs, raising them up, and shaking them out to show them what a full extension feels like.
Twisting – I always find that diaper changing time is the best time do some fun twists. Grab your child’s legs and turn them to their left and right side (as if they are rolling over) – our yoga teacher said to turn their legs opposite of the direction they are looking so they can practice turning with the weight of their head. This move really helps build strength that eventually leads to rolling over!
Arms – A lot of the time we focus more on the legs, but don’t forget about their arms! Make sure to stretch them out daily to show them what their arms are capable of doing. You can sing fun songs like YMCA or even physically prompt them to play simple games such as Peek-A-Boo!
Crossing Midline – Take your child’s opposite arm and leg by stretching them out and then have them cross midline by touching each other. What I like to do is sing the ABC’s and switch to the other opposite side every few letters. Crossing midline actually creates more pathways in the brain and leads to higher-level cognitive and motor skills (e.g.: self-care, reading, writing, sports, etc.). Another big plus is kiddos love it and you get many smiles out of them during this very beneficial movement activity!
Check out Week 6 for more fun ways to do tummy time!