Looking for ways to encourage your baby to roll and sit? Typically, rolling skills develop between 4-6 months and sitting independently develops between 6-8 months of age. You can help your baby meet these motor milestones by helping them to develop strong core muscles and assisting them in these movements every day. Diaper changes are a great time to help them practice these gross motor skills every day.
Reaching and Grabbing
Work your baby’s core muscles by getting them interested in reaching and grabbing their feet. Help them lift their feet toward their hands or face by kissing or tickling their toes on the changing table. Soon your baby will be lifting their legs and working their lower abdominal muscles themselves. This movement of lifting up their legs while on their back can help children begin rolling from their back to belly. The momentum of legs falling back down to the changing table can help them move side to side and eventually all the way to their belly.
Physically assisting your baby to roll can also help them learn this skill. Help your baby to their tummy when the diaper change is complete by holding their trunk or hips. Start with baby on the tummy and physically assist them to roll to their back before the diaper change begins. Be sure to practice rolling over to their left and right sides so your baby can develop muscles equally on both sides of their body.
Try rolling your baby side to side when placing a fresh diaper under their bottom instead of lifting up their legs up in the air. Place pictures or toys on either side of the changing table to catch your baby’s interest and motivate them to look to the side and reach.
Another great way to work the muscles used for sitting is by holding two hands and helping baby pull themselves up to sit. Does your baby need more help? Hold them behind the shoulders and allow them to focus on controlling only their head as you slowly help them sit up. If your baby is pulling to sit while holding your hands, help baby roll to either side and then transition up to the sitting position by supporting at their trunk. Go slowly and see if your baby will help to push up with the arms on the changing table. This will help them strengthen their arms and get ready to catch and balance as they start to sit more independently
Do this at every diaper change and your baby will be rolling and sitting with strong tummy muscles in no time at all. Doing these activities during diaper changes will ensure that you practice every day without setting aside a separate time in your busy schedules to work on it. Helping your baby reach their motor milestones can be as easy as trying new things in your everyday routines.