Tummy Time - Not Just For Infants!
Many parents hear the buzz word “tummy time” when they have an infant. However, playing while in prone, or propped up on your elbows while lying on your stomach, can be for all ages (and should be)! Think about how often you or your child lies and plays on the ground? The older children get, the more normalized sitting in a chair at a tabletop becomes, taking away from very important growth areas that playing in prone can provide.
Engaging in activities while in prone is a wonderful way to help your child organize and regulate sensory input from their environment. When a child is supporting themselves with the use of their shoulder girdle and upper extremity strength (not resting their chin in their hands), it positions their neck in extension which activates the brainstem, the area of your brain that assists with regulation.
Further benefits from engaging in play while in prone includes:
Increasing shoulder girdle strength and stability which is essential for fine motor and visual motor development (think handwriting, scissor skills, hand-eye coordination).
Increasing ocular motor development.
Providing deep pressure touch input to the entire surface of the body that is touching the ground, further improving sensory regulation.
Promoting prone extension which is an essential developmental pattern for sensory integration.
Look for these signs when your child is engaging in prone prop while playing: