Babies are born without a sense of balance. You can help your baby develop this important skill when it comes to learning how to sit up, crawl, and walk, because the components for balance are housed in the inner ear and balance is stimulated along with hearing. Hold your baby up in the air and move her all around -this movement is great for balance, cognitive development and even good emotional health. During play time, put baby on her belly or side; sit her upright in her bouncy chair or car seat to see what is going on around her, just remember that baby sleeps on her back.
Tips for development of balance
- Provide movement through swings, vibrating chairs, gentle rocking and bouncing.
- When baby is able to hold his head up, hold him vertically in a baby carrier or ‘snuggly’ as much as possible, so he gets used to being upright and processing the world from that position.
- Lay baby down on her belly or back on a large ball or bolster and roll it gently side-to-side and forward and back, supporting her by her torso.
- Simply being positioned in different ways helps the vestibular system, or balance to develop.
Important – do not try to stand baby up too soon. Even if they have good head control, the joints and muscles in their legs are not ready to bear weight until they are naturally pulling themselves up toa standing positions. When it is time, exersaucers should be low enough so that their feet can be flat. Babies should never bear weight through their toes, unless they do so naturally while cruising along furniture.
Important – Never lift or swing baby by hands or arms. The ligaments holding her shoulders and elbow in place are very flexible and not yet prepared to hold the weight of her body. Always pick up baby from her trunk or under her arms, even during play so as not to dislocate her shoulder, elbow, or wrist.
NEXT: Touch / Body Awareness>