Please READ THIS ARTICLE!!!!
*Note: If you are a primary grade teacher, please read through to the end! ;)
When my children were little, I thought it almost impossible for them to spend time on their bellies. Why? When I put them in that position, they'd cry. Being a "good parent," I wanted to meet their needs, so I'd pick them up or put them into another position.
In doing so, my children missed a crucial piece of development.
Luckily, circumstances for most of my kids must have been "good enough" for them to grow up without significant deficits. It was only later, in working with another of my children who'd experienced early trauma and loss that I learned about the vital importance of certain early movements. Here, I'll define those early movements as:
- crawling = scooting about on one's tummy
- creeping = moving about on hands and knees
For YEARS we took one of my children through hours and hours of creeping and crawling, trying (and succeeding) in creating brain networks that had failed to wire in early life. To my amazement, the media is finally saying what a small body of professionals have been crying in the wilderness for years:
An excerpt: "The Back to Sleep campaign encouraging parents to place babies to sleep on their backs and the growing popularity of convenient devices like infant car seats, swings, saucers and bouncy seats have led to children not getting enough tummy time. "Extensive time in containers limits movement, which causes problems with development," said Young.
There is growing clinical evidence that it's causing delays in otherwise normal children. "It's affecting motor skills, both fine and gross, and sensory development overall. The developmental milestones have changed dramatically in 20 years."
I urge you to read the entire article. If your child is still small, give him time to creep and crawl. If she is older and experiencing developmental delays, do some research into the vital importance of early movement. Research is showing that problems with reading, math and other vital educational strands can be linked to wiring issues caused by this lack of early movement. Two programs designed to change neurological wiring that can be done at home are Suzanne Day's Neurodevelopment Through Movements and Barbara Pheloung's Move to Learn.
P.S. If I was a primary teacher, I would have my entire class spend part of each day on the floor. Barbara Pheloung has a whole series of materials (see, for example, the book School Floors) for teachers to use in the classroom. The movements create the wiring that allow children to read, write, and do math. If the wiring isn't there, it's like trying to build a house without a foundation. A friend of mine who teaches special education is now doing it with great results with the children she sees.
See Related Articles:
Easy Solutions Can Prevent or Reverse Developmental Delays From Lack of 'Tummy Time'
(look for article linked from that page on midline crossing)
Signs & Symptoms
(look at this list...things that can be caused by insufficient movements at various developmental stages)