Your future sports star will get his start in athletics playing on his tummy, which will help him learn to roll, reach and crawl. Just like any type of exercise, tummy time can be tiring, and sometimes your baby will need some extra motivation to make it enjoyable. That's where you come in. "When parents consistently provide the opportunity for tummy time, it becomes part of the infant's routine and eventually they enjoy it," says Dr. Lynne Williams, a pediatrician and developmental psychologist who is co-founder of Jeremiah's Place, a relief nursery for victimized children. Making tummy time seem like the cat's meow will gradually entice your infant to roll over with minimal fuss.
Be a Live Entertainer
There's no need to hire a clown or a guy in an Elmo suit to make your baby smile when he's on his tummy, just embrace your inner goofball. Get down where your baby can see you, then wiggle, roll and shake. You get bonus points for making silly faces.
There's nothing kids of any age love more than watching Mom make a fool of herself. If your baby eventually tires of your antics, or you need a break from performing, call in your backups.
"The best live distraction might be a pet or a sibling who is at the same level as the infant and moving around in front of the infant," Williams says.
Streamline Your Gear
If you need to set up the super deluxe baby jungle gym every time you do a rollover, your baby will pick up on your stress and tummy time may seem more like a chore than fun.
"There really is a product out there for everything, but usually what makes infants most happy are the things you already have around the house, and you, the parent," Williams says. Colorful toys that your baby seems naturally drawn to will help him forget he isn't on his back anymore, and encourage him to stretch and reach. Engaging your child with toys, such as rolling a ball or playing puppet show with plush animals, will keep the toys fresh and interesting.
Go for A Ride
Any mom who has taken her child on a car ride to calm him down knows that babies tend to enjoy motion. Letting your child lie on a blanket while you gently drag it around the room will seem like the next best thing to a Disney ride for your little one. You can even lead a tour of the room in a funny voice for your baby's listening pleasure.
Does your baby love being read to, checking himself out in the mirror or chewing on teething toys? Indulge him while he's on his tummy. Soon, he may learn to associate tummy time with her pleasures of choice. If necessary, use a pillow to prop his chest up so she can easily view a book or mirror.
Give Your Baby a Lift
Different perspectives can make tummy time extra fun. Doing tummy time while your baby is on your lap, or being held above you like a tiny jet liner, lets him see the world in an entirely new way. You can't go wrong with airplane noises and funny faces to keep your little one engaged.
It is still important to mix in some floor time so your child stays on track to meet his developmental milestones.
"Holding your baby up while you (lie) down, or letting him (lie) on your chest, is a great way to introduce tummy time and help the wary infant get used to it, Williams says. "But for them to develop the motor strength and skills to roll, and eventually crawl, they will need time on a solid surface."
The airplane game can be an ideal way to liven up traditional tummy time. Have your child "zoom" up or down from the floor before or after floor time.