A thought may suddenly pop up in mother’s mind, placing her baby on daddy’s tummy when he is lying on the bed, and suddenly discover that her baby can lift his head and look around. How can he do that? Is it normal? Indeed, the neck muscles start to develop during tummy time, but it is yet enough to fully develop the ability to control his head. In this case, you may want to know if there are baby head control exercises that can help build their neck muscle strength.
Balancing heads indicates babies’ increasing dexterity
Both the development of motor movements and muscles undergo similar sequence, from head to toes, with a slow pace, as their body development and initial movements have to be developed step-by-step: first gaining control of their head, then hands and torso, and finally the legs.
The first to develop is the movement of turning their head, then the ability to track moving objects with eyes. When babies gain enough strength to hold up his head by himself and turn head to different directions but with small angles, this indicates that the muscles controlling their head are developing progressively – The strength is now strong enough to control freely and autonomously head and neck movements.
Building neck muscle strength helps to maintain proper alignment in head
A 2-month-old baby will start learning how to lie on his stomach, roll purposely and crawl. Let’s know more about how to master these gross movements!
Baby head control exercises | Image source: iStock
Our muscles control corresponding parts of the body to demonstrate certain poses, while the head control involves the power of neck muscles. By increasing the muscles’ strength, the higher the ability to control positions, which helps babies to better control when turning their head.
Baby head control exercises improve head balancing power
When the baby can hold his head up and move around, meaning the neck muscles start developing. That means they can autonomously control head movement. However, you may still need more exercises focusing on neck muscles to strengthen your baby’s head balance.
- Simple “reaching and moving" game encourages movement
You can start with the exercises involving fine head movements. Since babies in this age are especially attentive to objects in bright colours with high contrast like red, you can try to hold and move things in red in front of his face, and guide them slowing for stimulating neck muscles growth. Or, you can gently place your baby in Fisher-Price® Deluxe Infant-to-Toddler Rocker, as its the tilted design can support baby’s neck.
Mothers may tie a string to a red ball and dangle gently in front of him to encourage for turning more of his head. When he gets used to that, you can tie the string to the rocker and further train up their neck muscles, this, in turn, would promote balance in their head.
- Turning heads by lying on their stomachs to enhance neck muscles and head balance
Since it is difficult for babies to turn their head wide on the rocker, you may lay them on open ground to make the job easier.
When your baby is staring at you, you may start moving your head in different directions and let him find your face. This would facilitate more neck movements and help to lift his head. You can first lay him/her on the bed, and face him right in front of you to get eye-contact with him. Then slowly move yourself to another side but keeping your eye-contact, and say “Do you know where is Mom?", to encourage your baby to reach out wider, and train up their neck muscles and head balance by moving more.
- Gain balance in the head by lying on their stomachs
Lying on the stomach is the best practice of building muscles strength, especially neck muscles and thoracic muscles, which are essential to maintain balance while moving their heads.
Image source: Fisher-Price
When babies placing their hands bent in front of their chest while lifting their heads could train up his neck muscles’ strength and durability. If it is too boring to do so, Fisher-Price’s Kick & Play Piano Gym may dispel your doubt. By placing your beloved one on the mat, he/she can play the rattles while practice lying on the stomach. Just spend a few minutes per day is sufficient to boost neck muscles and in turn, more stable head movements.
The development of neck muscles and skeleton is yet matured, parents shall not be rushing to practice. For example, to move toys gently, in the purpose of helping babies to strengthen the power of neck muscles step-by-step during games, and maintain their head balance for better future developments.
This article was contributed by Fisher-Price and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
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