I was recently chatting with a friend who was really struggling with her 10 month old daughter's sleep. As soon as she described the problem I realized it was caused by a habit that a lot of parents fall into which can impact several areas of development. But in this case in particular it led to issues with her little one's sleep. It wasn't actually a sleep problem it was developmental. My friend's daughter, we'll call her Sarah for this video, had this habit of waking every single time she rolled from her back onto a tummy at night. As soon as she flipped onto a tummy she would start crying and she wouldn't stop until her mum came in and rolled her back. She would then fall back.
To sleep only to wake 90 minutes later because she had rolled back over again. So her mum would rush back in and roll her back. This cycle was causing six to eight wake-ups every night. Now in this particular case the problem was that Sarah couldn't roll from her tummy to her back by herself. She could roll one way but not the other. Rolling from tummy to back is typically a skill babies achieve by seven months of age but at ten months Sarah still wasn't quite there. This wasn't because she didn't have the underlying motor skills but because she never had the chance to practice and develop this skill. And this was because of the habit that I mentioned earlier. That habit was placing.
Her in sitting every time she put her down. As soon as Sarah learned to sit up at six months every time my friend put Sarah on the floor to play she would sit her up. And this worked for both of them. Sarah was never a big fan of playing while lying on her back or tummy but she would happily sit and play with her box of toys for over 30 minutes. And this gave her mum some much-needed time to do some chores or just enjoy a moment of peace with a hot coffee. And that's the trap. You'll notice as soon as your baby can sit up independently they become much more content and willing to play by themselves. And this is because when they are sitting up it's easier to see what's going on around them and more importantly.
Both of their hands are free to grab and play with the toys. So naturally it's easy for this to become your routine. They wake up, they eat in sitting, they play in sitting and then they go back down for a nap. And this cycle continues until bedtime. But here's the thing if you're always placing your baby on the ground sitting up they get really good at sitting up but it means they miss out on practicing and developing skills that come from playing on their back or tummy. Think of back and tummy play as a full body workout for your baby. It's essential for strengthening arms, legs, back and tummy muscles plus it teaches them how to shift their weight, balance and move around. These skills are.
Building blocks to achieving major gross motor milestones such as rolling over, crawling and walking. By the way if you want to know when to expect each of these milestones you can download my free developmental chart using the link down in the description. Now let's take the skill of weight shifting as an example. Imagine your baby's lying on their tummy and they see a toy that's just out of reach. As they reach out to grab that toy they shift their weight a little bit too much to one side and it looks like they're about to topple over. But at the last second they figure out how to distribute their weight evenly and use their arms and legs to push back into a stable position. This process of.
Shifting their body weight and regaining their balance is a key skill they will use to achieve bigger milestones down the road. Rolling is just one of those milestones. When they start learning to roll over they'll shift their weight to transition from their back to their tummy and then back again. Then as they progress to crawling this ability to shift their weight becomes essential helping them move one arm and leg forward while balancing on the other side. And most importantly when they're ready to take their first steps this skill of balancing and shifting their weight is what will keep them steady so that they can actually take those steps without falling over. So if your baby.
Only practices sitting they're missing out on developing these crucial gross motor skills. This could lead to delays in milestones like crawling and walking or they might not even learn some movements such as rolling over if they don't see the need. Sarah's case is a perfect example. She didn't learn to roll from her tummy to her back because she was always sitting up during playtime. She never had to figure out how to roll over to grab that toy that was slightly out of reach. This not only restricted her physical development but also affected her sleep since she couldn't roll back onto her back at night. Now I'm certainly not suggesting that you shouldn't let your baby sit up to play.
You should. It's a crucial part of their development but it's also important to add variety into their playtime. Give your baby the chance to play while sitting up but also encourage them to spend time on their tummy and their back. In terms of adding it to your routine it might look something like this. Your baby wakes up from a nap, they have something to eat and then it's playtime. You can start by laying them on their back on the floor and if your little one has already learnt to roll from their back to their tummy it's likely they'll immediately flip onto their tummy. If they do that's great, let them enjoy some tummy time but if not let them play on their back until they're ready for a.
Change. Then you would help your baby roll onto their tummy for a bit of tummy time play. When they start to complain in this position it's time to move on to something different and at this point you would help them sit up and you do this by rolling them onto their side and bringing them up into sitting. You would then repeat this routine giving them an opportunity to play while on their back, then their tummy, then in sitting, every time they wake up. Try to maintain a varied playtime routine like this one to help strengthen all of your baby's muscles not just those required for sitting as well as give them the opportunity to develop and refine those foundational.
Gross motor skills. Now in saying that I do realize that some babies just hate floor time. If that is your baby it's okay. In this video here I will teach you how to transition your baby into and out of the sitting position. This way instead of just placing them on the ground sitting up you can teach them this important movement skill. So make sure you watch that one next to learn how to teach your baby this transitional movement.