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Babies, the heart and soul of their parents, need every ounce of care to develop and grow. Three months after being cradle bound, it is time for your little one to start exploring new milestones. As a parent, you could go to any extent to help your munchkin meet these milestones, but there will be times you will find yourself wondering if you are doing enough.
This is when educational toys prove to be extremely helpful. Using these toys, parents can help their little ones reach their highest potential through purposeful play. To help newborns develop and enhance the growth milestones, Fisher-Price has launched the concept of ‘Power of Play’, which focuses on building cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional skills in babies by age and stage, as per the development milestones while they play! But first, let’s talk about the development usually seen in three-month-old babies.
At three months, babies have better control of their neck muscles. They can easily keep their heads upright and turn it mostly to the left and the right to observe the surroundings. But, parents still have to make sure their babies keep practising looking up because that action doesn’t come naturally to them; it needs to be developed. The physical growth of a baby also happens from the top, starting with the head and the neck. So, the child needs to practice more head movements (head-up and head-banging) to promote development, which is explained in detail below.
Why Is Keeping the Baby’s Head Straight Required at Three-Months?
At the end of three months, a baby can usually straighten his/her head and keep it stable. But, the duration the baby can keep the head straight varies. Therefore, some babies can hold their heads for a few seconds at a time, while some, a little longer. This is usually because the degree of development of muscles in the neck, shoulders, back, etc., vary in each baby’s case. Nonetheless, you should challenge this action more often to bring about development!
Keeping the head upright and stable is also crucial in forming a healthy cervical curve. It is important for laying the foundation for advanced movements such as climbing, sitting, and standing. A newborn baby’s spine is still very soft, and the neck has a slightly protruding forward bend. By the time your child is three months old, thanks to the ability to lift his/her head, the neck and the back muscles are strengthened, and the first curvature of the spine begins to form. This is known as cervical lordosis or cervical curvature. Babies must practice balancing their heads upright to form a well-developed cervical curvature.
Are you wondering what you could do to help develop the cervical curvature? As mentioned earlier, looking up or practising the head-up exercise is a great way to form the curvature. And, tummy time is the best way to get your baby to lift his head and chest. But, it can be challenging for the baby because the degree at which he/she can hold his/her head upright depends on the strength developed. You can, however, extend your baby’s tummy time and take complete advantage of the concept of ‘Power of Play’ through development-oriented toys. Below, we will talk a little more about how tummy time can help form a better neck curvature.
Tummy Time for Upright Head and Better Cervical Curvature
Babies can start practising the prone position (sleeping on the tummy) by the time they turn a month old. That’s when they learn to lift their heads and chests, and eventually learn to support their own weights. At three months, additional tummy time will exercise and further strengthen your baby’s neck, chest, and back muscles. It also increases the lung capacity, promotes blood circulation, and expands the child’s field of vision. Looking at things from different angles is important for intellectual development, too. More importantly, tummy time gives the baby more opportunities to look up, which helps develop a cervical curve as soon as possible.
However, simply trying to get a three-month-old baby to lie on his/her stomach may lead to an unwillingness to cooperate. Parents should add some fun to make their babies interested in practising tummy time, and also maximise the benefits! You can do that with the help of enjoyable baby games and activities, such as the ones given below.
1. Tummy Time Play With New Concept Toys
Three-month-old babies can start using their wrists to support their upper limbs during tummy time. It helps them get used to raising their chest and keeping their head high. Parents can place the Fisher-Price Mini Musicians Piano Wedge for their babies to lie on as they practice push-ups. The wedge is an internationally renowned development toy for newborns that provides comfort and support during tummy time and helps strengthen your little one’s core and neck muscles. It can also be used when your baby is playing with other toys. If you are still wondering how exactly the wedge helps, read on to know its features.
Features of Fisher-Price Mini Musicians Piano Wedge
Tummy time strikes the perfect note with the Fisher-Price Mini Musicians Piano Wedge. This tummy-time support helps keep babies comfortable as they explore the soft piano, music note teether, and the tambourine clacker toy attached to the wedge. The removable piano plays up to 10 minutes of music and lights, with three musical play modes including long play, fun animal sounds, and real piano notes. You can easily detach the piano from the wedge to carry the musical fun along as you travel, or even use it as your little musician grows.
With its smart design, Fisher-Price Mini Musicians Piano Wedge can help your little one develop his/her gross motor skills and sensory skills. It can also make your baby curious about the toys and develop a sense of wonder in him/her.
Skill Development With Fisher-Price Mini Musicians Piano Wedge
- Gross Motor: The wedge provides comfortable support for your baby as he/she pushes up during tummy time to play with the toys. The baby would extend his/her arms to reach out to the toys, too. Thus, the wedge can help strengthen the core, the neck, back and the arm muscles. This movement also involves looking up, which will help develop the cervical curvature we spoke about earlier.
- Sensory: The piano’s bright colours, soft textures, and exciting music and sounds engage and delight your baby’s developing visual, tactile, and auditory senses. The audio also encourages your little one to try to mimic the sounds, which probably won’t happen this early, but you could see your baby trying to mouth the sounds.
- Curiosity & Wonder: Your mini musician is introduced to the fun of cause and effect as he/she discovers how to activate the lights and music by pressing the piano keys. This develops a sense of wonder and makes the baby curious about new things.
Parents should invest in developing the skills mentioned above, as they are essential for the child to enter the next growth milestone. Get your baby’s own Fisher-Price Mini Musicians Piano Wedge now!
2. Play Gyms for Tummy Time and Kick and Play Development
You can also play games with your three-month-old baby for some good old bonding, and encourage the use of toys that can prolong tummy time and encourage kick and play activities. Fun toys, such as the Fisher-Price Fold & Go Portable Gym, a play gym-exercise mat, can help you keep your baby motivated to practice the prone position for longer durations.
When the baby is on his/her tummy lying on the gym and sees that the parents are also on all fours in front while shaking the rattle and clacker attached to the gym or trying to reach for the teether, tummy time instantly becomes an interactive fun time!
This toy grows with babies; its detachable features allow it to be used when babies start sitting-up, and even after they take their first few steps! These features enhance your baby’s skills and help you introduce them to storytime with fun character images at an early age. Read below to know the skills in detail.
Skill Development With the Fisher-Price Fold & Go Portable Gym
- Sensory: A variety of textures and sounds engage and excite your baby’s developing tactile and auditory skills.
- Gross Motor: The sea pals overhead encourage your baby to reach for and bat-at the toys, helping to strengthen their gross motor skills.
- Security & Happiness: Giving your baby a familiar place to play with their favourite sea pals wherever they go helps them feel comfortable and happy.
Encouraging your child’s development through fun activities is made easy with the Fisher-Price Fold & Go Portable Gym.
3. Fly, Little Airplane
Sometimes prone exercises don’t have to be on the floor or in bed! You can try this fun movement game by holding the baby face to face and lying down. Support your child with your shins by bending your knees and bringing him/her closer to your stomach. Then, hold the baby carefully and gently lift by raising your legs and stretching your arms. Your baby will be enjoying tummy time mid-air with this activity! This activity encourages babies to raise their heads and look around, thus exercising the neck, and also allows them to enjoy the thrill of flying in the air.
These activities are not only useful; they are enjoyable, too, especially when they are done together. But, parents need to take care of a few things when doing these activities with their babies. Here are some tips to make the most of these games.
Tips for Parents
Tummy time exercises may seem simple, but there are some caveats that deserve parents’ attention.
1. Encouragement Is Key
Even if most babies easily learn how to take the prone position, don’t forget to encourage your baby! With your cheering, your baby will be more willing to take on challenges and become proactive.
2. Help Your Baby Relax After Practices
As is the case with adults, your baby’s muscles will also be tired after each exercise. Doing relaxing activities like holding the baby, caressing him with love, and sticking to the feeding and sleeping pattern will boost the effects of his/her exercise without much physical strain.
3. Be Patient With the Baby
Babies have a very short attention span. Therefore, when you introduce an educational toy, you need to give your little one some time to get used it. If the baby seems disinterested, give him/her something else, and get back to the educational toy later on. You might have to continue doing this till your baby finally develops an interest in the toy.
As mentioned earlier, babies develop physically from the top down, starting with their heads and necks. This means that only when their head and neck are well-developed can the rest of the body develop further. Parents should encourage their babies to look up and around every day so that they can stabilise their heads, develop a good, healthy cervical curve, and get ready for further developmental milestones.
Disclaimer: The above parenting advice is for reference only. We also recommend that you consult your healthcare provider.