motor development, tummy time, mobile toy, eye tracking, cognitive development

​Tummy time and other activities to help your baby develop

When your baby was growing in your womb, you could feel him moving, pushing, shoving, turning and kicking. These actions will continue after he is born. If you lay him down on a flat surface, he will be moving his limbs, trying to turn his head, and attempting to wriggle around to find the source of a sound. Here are some ideas to help your baby in his motor, visual and auditory development in the fi​rst few months. 

Motor Development 

Help your baby learn how to control the movements of his head, body, arms and legs by positioning and playing simple games from birth, particularly through fl​oor-based play in a safe environment. This is important as these movements will help your baby learn to sit, crawl, stand and eventually walk.​

Tummy time 

Let your baby spend some time on his tummy. This will strengthen his back and help him learn to crawl. Place some toys in front of him so that he will be motivated to stay in this position. Only put him in this position when you are around. Do not allow him to sleep on his tummy as it increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). ​

Back practice 

Support your baby's head by making a pillow using a folded blanket rolled from each end​. Place a clean, rolled diaper under his knees to support his hips. Slowly and gently pull up the blanket so that he is raised to a sitting position. As your baby grows older, you may reduce the support on his head and neck.​

Time on the side 

Put your baby on his side, with a rolled blanket supporting his back and another supporting his front. Tuck your baby's legs in. You can lie down next to him and sing, talk or play finger games. 


Visual development 

A newborn is unable to focus on anything further than 25cm from his face. It is thus important to structure his visual world to fi​​t his range of vision. A stimulating and interesting environment will help your baby develop his vision which is important for him to explore the environment and acquire new skills. 

Human faces 

Decorate the side of your baby’s cot with photographs of yourself or one of your children. This helps your baby learn to focus as he surveys the pictures and objects around him. ​

Mobile fun 

Hang a colourful mobile over your baby’s cot, or hang interesting toys on his pram or stroller hood. Ensure that the mobile and toys are properly attached. This gives your baby extra interesting things to look at and focus on.​

Exploration 

Put interesting toys just out of your baby’s reach while he is having tummy time. This encourages him to move and explore. 


Auditory development 

One of the best ways to soothe a baby is by using your voice. What’s more, you can use different sounds to help develop his hearing and help your baby make the connection between sight, action and sound. 

Song time 

Hold your baby close to you and sing or coo at him/her. This will help your baby learn to focus through listening and turning his/her head towards your voice. 

Eye tracking exercise 

Use a noise-making toy to attract your baby’s attention while you move the toy slowly from one side of his face to another. See if your baby’s eyes follow the movement – this is called eye tracking.​