Tummy time for babies

Your guide to tummy time for babies at nursery or in early years settings.

Baby having tummy time reaching for ball Recent research has shown that 19% of mothers with children under six-months-old never put their babies on their fronts to play.

Why do babies need tummy time?

Babies spend a lot of time lying on their backs; in cots, pushchairs, car seats.  Lying continually on their back can sometimes cause a baby to develop a misshapen head (flat at the back). 

To prevent this from happening you need to give babies time lying on their front, this is known as ‘tummy time’.

So, what are the benefits of tummy time for babies? 

Babies engaged in tummy time each day are able to roll, crawl, sit, stand and walk earlier than babies that have not.

Baby having tummy time Tummy time increases babies' movement skills and confidence for later crawling and develops their neck muscles, coordination and balance.

How to engage babies in tummy time:

Here are the steps to engage babies at your nursery in tummy time. You can share this with parents to engage their babies in tummy time at home too: 

  • Lay the baby on their tummy on the floor (on a mat or towel)
  • Lie in front of the baby to ensure they can see you and that they enjoy the experience
  • Encourage the baby to look at you
  • Talk to the baby and play with them
  • Ensure you place objects just out of reach so they have to stretch to get them
  • Introduce new objects so your baby stays interested and has fun, such as books, mirrors, rattles
    • If a baby is not interested or curious then they will become upset and will not be exercising the muscles that you intended them to
  • Baby having tummy timeAs the baby grows put things out of sight so your baby will have to roll over to reach them.

Resources for tummy time and working with babies in a nursery setting:

  • Find a 'Brilliant Babies - working with 0-2 year-olds' course near you here
  • Find a ‘Babies – the importance of creative play’ course here
  • Discover 'Supporting 0-2 year-olds in the EYFS' online course here
  • Get more tips in our 'Brilliant Babies' publication here

Contact our training team for more information on 01484 407070 / training@ndna.org.uk.