First steps, first words, first smiles, first…rolls? Although rolling over is not the most obvious baby milestone, it’s an important indicator of growth, signalling increased mobility and body awareness. Plus, it can be quite fun to watch, and definitely worth getting that little record book of yours out for - we know you’re always looking for opportunities to write in it.
Gaining a deeper understanding of the hows, whens and whys of rolling over helps you to improve and adapt baby’s everyday routines to the developmental stage they’re at. This means you can choose what toys to get, what activities to encourage and even what precautions to take.
From top playtime tips for working out their muscles to predicting when your little one will start being more active, here’s everything you need to know about the extraordinarily sweet transition from lying to rolling.
why rolling over is important for babies
Rolling over is a stepping stone to crawling and, ultimately, walking. It’s perhaps the biggest first movement babies make. It requires twisting the torso in multiple directions at the same time, strengthening key muscles and building skills such as balance and coordination, which support their overall physical development.
when do babies roll over?
Every baby is different. As a parent, it’s crucial to remember that. Some little ones take more or less time to learn how to do something, and that’s normal. Babies develop at their own pace, and no journey to toddlerhood is exactly the same.
On average, rolling from front to back tends to happen when your baby is around four months old, while rolling over the other way requires a bit more muscle strength and occurs later, generally at about six months. The majority of babies are able to roll both ways before they’re seven months old.
If you’re worried because your baby hasn’t begun rolling over yet and you need some reassurance, voice your concerns at your next doctor’s appointment. But don’t stress over it – perhaps your little one is simply taking a bit longer to get to know the ropes of rolling. And there are plenty of things you can do to help.
how to encourage baby to roll over
The long answer is that you should stimulate the muscles baby needs to roll over, including upper body, shoulders, arms and neck. The short answer is… tummy time! It’s a fun way to encourage play and help strengthen their muscles so little ones are able to rotate by themselves.
Try placing a toy for your baby to reach on their side. This could be something colourful, musical or with a friendly character on it (something worth rolling for!). Wheeled, cylindrical or spherical toys such as a ball are good options as your little one will have to chase them to play. You can gradually push the toy a bit further away, encouraging them to figure out how to move and to stretch their tiny, searching arms.
keeping baby safe when rolling
As babies learn to roll around independently, there are a few steps you should take to keep them out of harm’s way. The most significant one is to never leave them unsupervised on elevated surfaces. This may include the changing table or the bed – you don’t want them rolling off the edges. A padded mat may be a smart investment to make at this stage, so your aspiring gymnast has a safe place to play.
lying, rolling… what’s next?
If your baby’s already a rolling expert, you’re probably wondering what to expect next. Typically, as the months roll on, little ones become increasingly more active. They’ll begin sitting and crawling before you know it. Other developments will also take place, including improved communication skills.
Make the most of those precious rolling moments while they last. They’re guaranteed to be bursting with the most genuine giggles and heartily looks. Most importantly, they’re a brilliant opportunity for bonding with your little one. Happy rolling!