Baby guide: from tummy time to crawling

Motor skills are actions that involve your baby using their muscles. This guide shows you what motor skill milestones to expect within your baby’s first 10 months as well as activities you can do to help with the progress. Here we focus on tummy time, sitting and crawling.

 Tummy time

Tummy time refers to placing your baby on their stomach to play, which helps their visual, motor and sensory development. Start tummy time as soon as possible, in baby’s first month.

How to do tummy time:
• Place your baby on their tummy on a playmat for one minute, three times a day. As they get stronger and enjoy it, increase the time and do it more frequently as you see fit. Surround them with their favourite toys.
• Never leave your baby unattended during tummy time.
• The ideal time to do tummy time is after your baby wakes up from a nap or following a nappy change. A good saying to remember is, ‘back to sleep, tummy to play’.

 How to make it more fun
If your little one isn’t enjoying this exercise or you want to make it more fun for both of you, you can:
• Lie on your back and place your baby’s tummy on your tummy. This is a great way to interact and monitor baby’s progress.
• Keep interacting with baby. Don’t forget the funny faces and noises!
• Put a small firm pillow under their chest during tummy time to prop them up. Then slowly wean them off the pillow.

 Help baby to sit

Babies normally start sitting around 5-8 months, some even as early as four months. Most babies can sit well without support for several minutes by eight months. Here are some exercises and tips to get baby ready to sit:

1. Baby support cushion
The support cushion is best for babies between 4-5 months. Place your baby in a sitting position on the floor, using a baby support cushion that surrounds them, or set up pillows around them – place toys a little further away to encourage them to reach.
2. Nappy-change sitting
Incorporate a ‘pull and sit activity’ into your nappy-changing routine. This is when after you have changed their nappy, you hold your baby’s hands and gently and slowly pull them up into a sitting position. Hold your baby in sitting position for a moment and then gradually lower them back down to the starting position on their back. You can do this as many times as your baby wants after changing the nappy.
NB: Never leave baby unattended while doing these exercises.



Babies typically begin to crawl from 6-10 months, although some may skip the crawling phase altogether and go straight to pulling up, cruising, and walking. Most child specialists will advise that you try to encourage your child to crawl, as it is an important developmental goal. Help your baby get ready for their crawling debut by giving them lots of supervised tummy time.

How to child-proof your home for crawling
As baby becomes more mobile, and tries to pull themselves up to reach things around the house, you need to child-proof your home so baby has a safe place to play and explore.
Look around and see what potential hazards may be at your baby’s level and need to be child-proofed:
• Electrical outlets
• Electrical cords
• Stairs – place baby gates on top and bottom
• Toilet seat.

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