As early as the first few months of your child’s life, he can already begin learning different skills that he will use for the rest of his life. These include gross motor skills, which refer to skills that require whole body movement to carry out every day functions such as standing, walking, running, and sitting.
With the help of simple activities, you can start developing your little one’s gross motor skills starting his second month.
0 to 3 Months
Flex baby’s legs
When your baby is lying on his back on the floor, gently flex his legs in a bicycle motion. This simple exercise can help improve your child’s flexibility and range of motion. Plus, it’s also a simple method to relieve gas out of your baby’s system!
Encourage tummy time
Your baby has so much to gain from having some tummy time! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that at around 2 months old, babies begin to be able to hold their heads up when they are lying on the stomachs. Tummy time will help strengthen your little one’s upper body muscles, since this is when he has the opportunity to push himself upward. It’s also a good practice to prepare your child for rolling over and crawling.
Another activity you can do to develop your baby’s upper body muscles especially during tummy time is by holding different toys in front of him and letting him reach for the toys.
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Pull baby up to sitting position
To start developing your baby’s head control, let his lie on his back, then slowly pull him towards you until he is in a sitting position. Don’t forget to provide the necessary support for his neck, although eventually, as your baby’s muscles get stronger, he will be able to sit up even without help.
3 to 6 Months
Put toys just out of reach
Aside from just holding up toys for your little one to try to reach for, challenge him a bit by placing a toy a short distance away from him, so that he is encouraged to move forward to get it.
Place baby down on the floor so that he is lying on his stomach. Tuck his arm underneath his torso, then place a colorful toy above his head. Encourage your baby to follow the toy with his eyes, and shift his weight over his tucked arm until he has rolled over onto his back. You can also do this exercise to encourage your baby to learn how to roll over from his back to his tummy.
Since this is usually around the time when babies start to crawl and sit upright without any support, give your little one different kinds of fun activities to help further those milestones. For example, you can teach him kiddie songs with big actions, like “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Wheels on the Bus.” Create a makeshift “tunnel” out of a big cardboard box and encourage your baby to crawl through it. You can also try making a simple obstacle course for him to go through.
Let baby play in different settings
Don’t limit your baby’s play area to just his bedroom. Expose him to different surfaces and slopes — for example, you can start teaching him how to walk up and down stairs. Try to also take him to playgrounds where there are various kinds of play equipment for him to explore.
When you bathe with your little one, encourage him to play by letting him kick and splash water and by giving him little cups and funnels to play with. Take this chance to also massage his body gently.