Strengthening the Core

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Strengthening the Core

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As adults, we often hear that we have to have good “core” strength. We do things like go to yoga, spin class, or pilates to address this. Why would we worry about good core strength for a baby? And how would we help them to gain strength through their core?

Well, babies develop from the core outward. So, think of their first motor skills: rolling – this is all core, with some pushing and shifting of the arms, legs and head. Next we would see sitting up: which requires trunk strength, also known as the core! From there, we see crawling, standing and walking. As the core gets stronger, the arms and legs get stronger, and then the hands and fingers (fine motor skills). Babies develop in this pattern. They need a strong core to help hold up their head, hold their body in sitting, remain in a crawl, and in a standing position.

So, what kind of activities can we try to help babies strengthen that little, adorable core?

  • Lots of tummy time! This encourages them to pick up their head, turn side to side, and push up on their hands and arms.
  • Put your yoga ball to use!little girl on ball

–  Lay them across the ball and push forward and back towards you. For older babies, encourage them to push off the floor with hands and then feet.

–  Sit them on the ball facing you. Support them at the waist and bounce, rock and sway. They will use their core to stay upright! Sing songs as you do this to make it fun. The face to face interaction is always beneficial.

  • Use your lap! If you don’t have a ball, just use your lap! Lay them across your lap and sway side to side. Sit them on your lap, hold hands and bounce!
  • Sit in a laundry basket. Push, pull, and wiggle their little “car”. The movement will require core strength, and they can hold on to the sides for support. (For older babies or young toddlers, use a diaper box for this activity.)
  • For toddlers, sit them on a blanket and pull them around the house to take them for a ride!
  • Use couch cushions to crawl up and over the mountain!

A strong core will help your baby to achieve all motor milestones! What other activities have you tried? Share with us!

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