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Enhancing Development: A Tummy Time Activity with Proprioceptive Play


Hey there, fellow parents! As the owner of Happy Little Ones, a pediatric sleep consultant, a tummy time instructor, and a mom of three, I'm excited to dive into the fascinating world of proprioception and its role in tummy time.


Proprioception, simply put, is our body's ability to sense its position, movement, and actions. It's what allows us to navigate the world around us with ease, from reaching for a toy to walking across a room. And guess what? Babies are developing this sense from day one!


One fantastic way to support proprioceptive development during tummy time is through the use of a beach ball or yoga ball. Picture this: your baby, resting on top of the ball, gently rocked back and forth as they explore their surroundings. It's not just fun; it's a powerhouse of developmental benefits!


The objective of this exercise is to provide proprioceptive feedback and activate the vestibular system during tummy time to promote sensory integration and motor skill development.


Let's break down the technique:


1. Place a beach ball or yoga ball on a flat, stable surface.

2. Position your baby on their tummy across the top of the ball, ensuring they are securely supported.

3. Sit or kneel behind or in front of the ball to provide supervision and support throughout the activity. Your hands will be on your baby the entire time.

4. While holding your baby, gently rock the ball front to back and side to side while the baby is in the tummy time position.

5. As you rock the ball, encourage your baby to lift their head by placing a toy, mirror, or yourself in front of them. This engages their neck muscles to maintain the tummy time position.

6. Continue the rocking motion for a few minutes as the baby becomes more comfortable and engaged.

7. Monitor your baby's responses and adjust the rocking motion accordingly to ensure they are safe and comfortable. If they begin to fuss, you are more than welcome to stop the activity and try again at another time.

8. After the tummy time session, provide gentle praise and encouragement to reinforce positive experiences with the activity.


Check out the video here!


Now, let's talk about the incredible benefits of proprioception:


- Proprioceptive feedback: The rocking motion on the beach ball or yoga ball provides gentle pressure and movement input to the baby's body, helping to improve body awareness, muscle tone, and postural control.


- Vestibular stimulation: The rhythmic rocking motion stimulates the vestibular system, promoting sensory integration and helping the baby develop a sense of balance and spatial orientation.


- Motor skill development: Engaging in tummy time with rocking motion on the ball encourages the baby to use their neck, back, and core muscles to maintain the position and participate in the movement. This strengthens these muscles and supports the development of head control, balance, and coordination.


- Sensory integration: By combining proprioceptive feedback with vestibular stimulation, tummy time with rocking motion on the beach ball or yoga ball offers a dynamic and multi-sensory experience that enhances the baby's ability to process and integrate sensory information.


So, what's next? I invite you to join us for a Tummy Time Takeover class, where we'll explore these techniques and more in a supportive and engaging environment. Let's empower our little ones to reach new heights of development together!



Anna Clifford, a tummy time instructor

Anna Clifford has been teaching gymnastics for 20+ years. She was a competitive gymnast and has taught 6 weeks through 18 years old.


Anna specializes in baby and toddler gymnastics classes, which is very unique to the industry. This is where her true passion lies!


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