Is this your first baby and the biggest concern for you right now is to make him as fit as a fiddle? If that’s right, you are at the right place. Grab a coffee and pay attention; this article is going to tell you how you can stretch and strengthen your baby’s muscles.
Kids come into this world with fragile and weak muscles and soft bones. Any kind of bad health condition can make their body even more delicate, making it necessary to work hard on a baby’s muscles right after their birth. Practicing different stretch exercises can help them walk, play, move, learn and grow healthier.
You are a parent, as the personal trainers of your babies. You can help them build coordination, flexibility, and strength for your kids through daily activities. Kids with strong muscles are more likely to be healthy and recover from disease if they have any.
Following are the ten most valuable exercises for babies to help them crawl, walk and run about faster.
This exercise can begin from the first day when you bring your baby home. Babies spend most of their time lying on their backs. Turning them over their belly will be a few minutes of exercise to build muscles of the neck, shoulder, arms, back, and stomach.
Start from three to five minutes and increase a couple of minutes every passing day. If you place them on a soft blanket on the floor, they will explore their surroundings and want to touch things around them. If you give them tummy time in between your both knees, they will release the trapped gas. On the other hand, if the baby’s dad or mother gives him tummy time on their tummy, it will strengthen their bond.
This exercise is for those babies who can hold their heads, usually around four months. You have to hold your baby from his forearms and slowly pull him towards yourself. You can also do it by placing the baby on a blanket on the bed. Slowly move the blanket until the baby comes in a sitting position. He will automatically try to flex his abdominal muscles and keep his head in alignment with the body.
This exercise will enhance upper body control and strengthen the shoulder, back, and arms muscles. It will ultimately help the baby to crawl, stand and walk easily. This effortless exercise helps the babies to move in control of their own will. Plus, when the baby engages in an activity, it gives them better sleep because they get tired. On the other hand, when the baby sleeps well, it gives mothers a break and a happy baby day.
You may have heard the bicycling exercise for babies helps release gas out of their stomachs. That’s true, yet it has some more perks. It strengthens the joints, hips, legs, knees, and abs. It also increases the flexibility and playfulness of babies.
They enjoy the ride when you grasp the lower part of their legs and move in bicycling motion. Soon starts responding back by kicking and smiling and making some other moves. Strong muscles resulted due to this practice will enhance the confidence of your baby.
Around 4-6 months, your baby usually wants to pick up the things you don’t want him to touch. Doctors say picking items up is a good exercise for little ones. It enhances their hand-eye coordination, muscular strength, and of course, their grasping ability.
Make the baby sit in his favorite spot, or a bouncy chair or on the floor, and spread a few things of lightweight in front of him. If the things are shiny, colorful, or bright, the baby will be more attracted to grasp these things and play with them. Let him lift those items and repeat the process a few times. You can even throw some light and soft things towards him, and he will feel encouraged to throw them back, like a catch-catch game.
This exercise is suitable for when you think your baby can stand these stretches. Gently hold the baby’s legs and move them in the opposite direction pressing lightly on knees in a circular motion. It will improve the strength of hip joints that are very crucial for walking, standing, and crawling of the baby.
Next, play the thumb game and encourage them to hold your thumbs with their little hands. Stretch the arms in the opposite direction, cross them over the chest of the baby. This is not about the baby is healthy or weak; these stretches are essential for all the babies. It improves their movement and muscles strength. They feel active through stretches.
This is all about fun and encouraging the baby to hit and push. You may show them some videos of punching or boxing on LCD. Ask them to punch and make a sound effect with it, like “bam,” “punch,” “good job,” “hard,” “yayaya,” and you’ll see your baby will be enjoying this exercise in no time.
If the baby gets excited about this exercise and wants to do it more often, encourage him to hit with his foot. Keep on adding motivational sound effects and make him feel like he is doing great.
7. Blast Off!
You can name this game a “plane-game” or “plane-play.” First of all, relax yourself and lie down on your back, make the baby lie on his belly, and let him rest on your chest. Play something like, “MISSION: PLANE RIDE, ARE YOU ALL SET?”
One, two, three, four, and on five, raise the baby up high with your arms straight and tight. Then bring him back on your chest saying, (baby’s name) is ready for landing, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
The baby will surely enjoy and want to repeat the game again and again. This playful exercise will strengthen your baby’s arms, back, and neck muscles. Plus, toddlers enjoy this gameplay a lot.
This game can be played in two ways. Either the baby can play with mom and dad, or with two favorite things, maybe toys. Select a soft place to roll. If you want to go for parents’ type, place the baby in the center, one parent on the left and one parent on the right. Keep enough distance so the baby can roll on the floor easily. Both parents clap and call the baby towards them and see in which direction the baby wants to roll.
The second way is, place two favorite items of the kid on opposite sides, with enough distance to roll in between. It would be best if the toys or those items are lightening or colorful. Guide the baby on how to roll on one side. When the baby gets used to it, play this game by placing the toy above their face. Encourage them to hold it. You’ll see how the baby is getting active day by day.
9. Massage Exercise
This exercise has no age limit; it is equally beneficial for everyone, especially babies. To improve their muscles and help them grow stronger, massages play a role in parent technique. Use the baby-friendly oil and make the baby lie on a massage table or any other plane surface. For strengthening the cervical spine, lift the baby up a little by holding him gently through his wrists.
For leg muscle development, lie the baby on his tummy. Press the kid’s foot gently with your thumb, and you’ll see the satisfaction and energy he would want to move forward. Remember, do it with a low-pressure stroke, enough for what the baby can handle. You can increase the force over time as your baby grows big and strong.
10. Do Some Dancing
No, no, no, don’t panic if you don’t know how to dance. This is not about teaching your baby some dance steps. It is an exercise which doctors proved; babies like to move around on their toes, and with some music, they do it more excitedly. If the baby is under six months, hold them to make them stand. You will see when the junior will know he is balanced; he will move around and kick out, which feels like dancing.
If the baby can stand on his own, give him a little support and be jolly with him; move a little, and they will move their body too. This exercise will enhance their mood and will to be more active.
Last but not least
You cannot only be a parent to your children; you have to be their personal trainer, psychiatrist, doctor, mentor, and much more to them. Scheduling these exercises is also a big part of this process. Even adults get tired of the same routine. Don’t repeat the same exercises every day. Spice up their routines with a new game every time. The more they will enjoy, the more they will be active.