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The Benefits Of Tummy Time For All Ages (Plus Exercise Ideas!)

Tummy time, or when a baby lies on his stomach while supporting his body with his elbows, is vital for development.  Around six months of age, tummy time leads to a baby assuming prone extension, more commonly known as the “airplane position,” as a response to gravity.  The baby lifts his head, upper back, arms, and legs off of the ground.  These positions strengthen muscles used in gross motor movements from rolling to walking.   

Engagement in prone activities (lying on stomach) continues to be important as the child grows.  Tummy time and assuming prone extension has many benefits:

  • increases core strength needed for a stable base of support in sitting
  • increases upper extremity strength and stability needed for fine motor tasks
  • strengthens neck muscles needed for visual tracking 
  • facilitates sensory integration and reflex integration
  • increases body awareness
  • regulates the nervous system which can elicit a calming response

A child should be able to hold prone extension for 20-30 seconds by the age of six.  Children who exhibit difficulty holding this pose, often also have difficulty engaging in daily activities at home and school.  Thankfully, children can still experience benefits from engaging in tummy time and related activities:

  • Play superman:  assume prone extension and pretend to fly like superman!  Place a favorite stuffed animal on the child’s back so he can pretend to fly the animal to safety or to its favorite place
  • Roll a bouncy ball:  child lies on stomach to catch and roll a ball with both hands either with a parent or at a target like bowling pins
  • Scooter board:  child lies down on board and uses arms to propel self through a traffic cone obstacle course, holds onto a rope while caregiver pulls the rope, or gathers bean bag to toss into a basket
  • Fine motor tasks:  child props himself up on elbows while lying on the floor for coloring, completing a puzzle, building with blocks, or even watching TV
  • Therapy ball:  child lies over a ball (or couch, or caregiver’s lap) and holds himself up with open hands while “walking” laterally and forwards/backwards to grasp items to engage in a task (i.e. grab a coin then “walk” on hands to place coin in piggy bank)

The possibilities are endless!  Try one of these ideas or use your imagination and develop your own activities to try with your child today!

-Allison Widman, OTR/L

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Patient Reviews

LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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