A person’s development happens mostly within the first few years of their life, so infancy and toddlerhood is a time for growth and learning. As a parent, you can help your baby’s development by doing baby exercises with them.
It is crucial for infants to become strong so they can roll over, sit up, crawl around, pull themselves up and eventually walk. Exercises for babies will get your young one excited about learning and playtime, and physical activity leads to a peaceful night’s sleep.
Here are some exercises to help your baby develop.
1. Happy Baby
For this exercise, set your baby on their back and put their legs in the air. Your baby may grab onto their feet. Hold onto their feet also, bend their legs and spread them for a bit of a stretch. Sway them back and forth. This movement opens the hip muscles and promotes digestion.
2. Tummy Time
Tummy time is a classic in baby exercises. Start doing this exercise a few minutes every day, then gradually increase to 20 minutes. Set a blanket or mat on the floor and put your baby down on their tummy. Your baby will try to lift their head to look around. After some time, your baby will pick up their head easier because this exercise strengthens the head and neck muscles and improves motor skills.
Make tummy time fun by setting a variety of fun and colorful toys in front of your baby for them to play with, or laying down in front of them so they can look up at you. For a variation, lay down on your back and set your baby on your chest. They will lift their head to look at you.
3. Palm Stretch
When your baby reaches for an object, help them to stretch out their hand. You may also gently massage their palms. An open hand is crucial for crawling and exploring the world around them, so help your baby get used to it.
4. Object Pickup
This exercise will help in developing your baby’s shoulder, arm and hand muscles, hand-eye coordination and grasping ability. Try the object pickup game when your baby is at least three to four months old, or when they start reaching for objects on their own.
Sit your baby in their high chair or bouncy seat and lay various small objects where your baby can reach them. Pick one up, look at it and set it back down to demonstrate to your baby what you want them to do. Then, let your baby have fun picking up and playing with the toys.
5. Crawl Assist
You can help your baby become familiar with crawling in this exercise. Fold over a towel and place it under your baby’s tummy, holding onto the ends of the towel. Lift them until they are off the ground, and their arms and legs are dangling down. Walk with them as they learn to crawl. Eventually, your baby will be crawling on their own, no help from the towel needed.
6. Stool Sitting
The stool sit exercise helps babies keep their balance and practice walking. Set your baby down on a stool or chair that is low enough for their feet to touch the ground. Set some toys on the floor in front of them. Have your baby stand up, walk over to a toy, pick it up and sit back down.
7. Baby Bounce
Bouncing your baby can improve their strength and may calm them down when they are fussy. Sit on the floor with your legs folded or stretched out. Stand your baby up on your lap and bounce them up and down while holding their hands. You can move your baby’s arms up and down to help them get started.
8. Toy Catch
Select a colorful toy that has an attached loop, or tie a ribbon to one of your baby’s toys. While your baby is sitting upright, hold onto the string and dangle the toy in front of them. When your baby reaches out, they will work on keeping their balance. Grabbing the toy also helps with their hand-eye coordination.
9. Bubble Gaze
Sit your baby in a bouncy seat or high chair. Sitting or standing in front of them, blow some bubbles toward them. This exercise tunes fine motor skills as their eyes follow the bubbles around the room and works on their hand-eye coordination if they try to pop a bubble.
To work your infant’s abdominal muscles, set them on their back on the floor. Grab their arms, and slowly pull them up into a sitting position. If your baby cannot support their head yet, place your hands behind their shoulders and head. Once they have sat up, lay them back down on the floor and do it again.
Make this exercise a fun bonding time for you and your baby by making silly faces and noises at them when they reach the top of the sit-up. You can also give them a little kiss as a reward.
11. Leg Bicycling
With the leg bicycling exercise, your baby’s legs will get stronger, and it may help them relieve gas. Set them on their back and hold their feet. Push one leg toward their chest while extending the other, alternating legs next time. Do this three to five times, take a break then repeat. When you are done with leg bicycling, let your baby kick their legs around on their own.
12. Elbow Stand
Lay your baby on the floor on their tummy. Put their elbows underneath their shoulders with their forearms on the floor. Lift your baby’s hips and core to about a 45-degree angle. The elbow stand strengthens their abdominal and arm muscles.
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