As parents, we love to see our children reach their developmental milestones, accomplishing something new, no matter how small it may be.
Even a simple roll over is a great accomplish for a baby and can be exciting for parents to watch.
But did you know that it is actually a crucial part of their physical development?
As with any milestone, the exact age your baby will begin to roll can vary from the “average,” but you can likely expect to see the first roll sometime between 4 and 6 months of age.
Some babies start rolling onto their sides to sleep from just a few months old, but this is not always the case. However, you may notice your little one practicing, feeling what it is like to roll and pivot on their back, perhaps holding their little feet while they rock back and forth.
Your baby will likely master the tummy to back roll early on. It may even seem like an accident, like falling over after a long bout of tummy time.
Once your baby is stronger and a bit more coordinated, you will begin to see them trying to achieve the back to tummy roll. This takes a lot of core and neck strength, as they need to propel themselves all the way over.
When you see that your baby is able to roll over, you can rest assured that they are developing well and getting stronger. Without the ability to roll over, your baby will likely experience delays in other developmental milestones, such as crawling and sitting up.
Rolling over is also your baby’s first step to mobility. Once your baby starts rolling, you may surprisingly notice that they are actually able to get around simply by rolling over a few times across the floor.
It can even be an incentive for them to get up and move in the later months, when they are ready to start crawling or scooting.
The first and best thing you can do to help your baby learn to roll over is give them plenty of tummy time. This is crucial for strengthening their neck and arms, both of which are crucial to learning how to roll and even crawl in later months.
Next, you can lay your baby on their side with a rolled up blanket or pillow just behind their back for support. This will force them to instinctively raise their head and neck, and possibly even try to lift their legs and squirm as if trying to roll over.
If your baby does not do this, they may not be ready to roll yet.
Try to motivate your baby to roll by enticing them with a toy just outside of their reach. Lay your baby on a blanket and slowly lift it (no more than an inch) to give them the feel for what it is like to roll over.
Eventually, you can place your hand on their tummy to support them while you help them roll all the way over.
Of course, you can always place them on the floor on their tummy and gentle move their body the way it would if they were rolling on their own.
Always support the head, neck, and back as your roll your baby from front to back and vice versa.
Most of all, you should praise, praise, praise. Babies and children really feed off positive feedback; it encourages them to try again or do better.
When you practice rolling or your baby rolls by itself for the first time, be sure to show them that they did really well and that you are proud.
Your baby may find their first roll over to be a little startling, or they may be completely fine, simply finding it fun or exciting.
Either way, you want to always be sure that tummy time is closely supervised so that you know when your baby is rolling in case you need to lend a helping hand.
NEVER leave your baby unattended on a changing table or couch, especially if they are at the age that they could begin rolling on their own.
The last thing you want is for your baby to roll off and either seriously injure or scare itself so badly that they do not want to try again.
Watching your baby roll over for the first time can be such an exciting experience. It is their open door to mobility, and will have the both of you looking forward to a future of crawling around at your heels.
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