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  • Baby Exercise: Tummy Time

    Enhance your child's strength with tummy time and get creative with items!
    by Stephanie F. Esguerra . Published Aug 14, 2009
  • As soon as your little tot turns four months old, he’ll display a significant increase in playfulness and activity. He’ll roll from side to side, start creeping, and will even already be able to hold his weight while supported in a standing position. His body becomes even more mobile: kicking legs and waving arms. His inquisitiveness hits an all-time high as he reaches out, grabs, and inspects objects with undeniable fascination, while his vision starts to perceive depth and full color.

    Babies at this stage relish being talked to and will smile or coo in response, laughing during interaction or playtime. Because they love the limelight, they will make noises using their voice just to get your attention.

    Tummy time
    The fourth month in your child’s life marks great leaps and bounds when it comes to marked development in strength. By pushing up on his hands, he can already hold up his chest while lying on his tummy.

    An-Marie Bartolome-Villarin, managing director of the Terrific Tots Preschool Program at The Little Gym in Taguig City, and mother to Santi, recommends giving “tummy time,” which involves positioning your baby on his stomach so he won’t always be on his back, helping him prepare for crawling.

    Many infants are uncomfortable when placed on their bellies and will cry in dismay. Although ideally tummy time should take 10-20 minutes once or twice a day, Villarin suggests starting a few minutes at a time. “At that age, they don’t like tummy time so much, so short periods of time are good.” With as little as two to three minutes a day, your baby can slowly adjust and familiarize himself with being on his belly.

    Start by putting baby down on your chest while in a reclined or lying position. Your little one will love feeling your body’s temperature and will savor the experience of being physically close to you. You can also put baby on a mat, placing age-appropriate toys around him which he can reach out and grab, stimulating his motor skills and helping promote his upper body strength.

    Take this chance to bond with your child, laying down beside him and playing with him, singing songs or just talking to him.

    Baby beats
    When it comes to baby’s toys, you don’t need to get the latest or most sophisticated toys in the market. Sometimes, the simplest and most effective toys can be found right in your own home.

    Villarin shares how she improvised at home with a used baby wipes container, turning it into a drum for her son. “If you can use things that you can find at home, and not have to buy toys, then that’s even better, because then that saves you money and storage space,” she explains.
    - An-Marie Villarin, managing director of the Terrific Tots Preschool Program of The Little Gym, Taguig City, and mother to Santiago
    - Websites http://www.robynsnest.com/develope4-5.htm and http://pediatrics.about.com/od/infants/a/0607_tummy_time.htm
    Photo by koadmunkee via flickr creative commons
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