What we frequently don’t think about is that tummy time or prone positioning is important throughout childhood and adulthood. With the increase in screen time, children spend more and more time sitting and frequently do not get enough vestibular input or participate in cardiovascular activities. Traditionally, children strengthen their bodies through play, so a playful approach to incorporating prone positioning or tummy time is important.
Play in the prone position does not require any extra equipment, so can easily be encouraged at home. Because so many of us spend a good portion of our days working at a computer, adults will benefit as well from playing in prone with their children. Rather than sitting at a table to play a game, get down on your belly with your child and play a game, do a puzzle or crawl under the table. Being propped up on forearms is a great way to encourage a natural stretch to the upper body and back. Consider playing catch, using eyedroppers, chopstick or tongs or reading a bedtime story while lying on your bellies. Crawl around the room to pick up toys at the end of the day and toss into a bag or bin. See how far you and your child can roll with your arms over your head.
Any time you play in a prone position you will be increasing the demands of the activity, so be sure to keep the activity fun and engaging. If you see your child tiring, acknowledge how hard the activity is for YOU and make a shift to something that is easier, then go back to prone when you feel that your child is ready. (You may wear our before the child!!) Another strategy is to take turns, one throw in prone, one throw in sitting, one in standing. We encourage to try these easy at home strategies and can’t wait to hear back. Feel free to talk with your child’s occupational therapist about this if you want more ideas!