Starfish Therapies

February 7, 2012

Encouraging Rolling – From Back to Stomach

I’ve already addressed rolling in a previous post, as well as if you should be concerned if your child isn’t rolling yet, but I wanted to provide a video for some visuals on ways to encourage rolling in your child.  This video addresses helping your child to roll from their back onto their stomach.  Its important that your child learn to activate their flexor muscles (abs) to assist with rolling as opposed to throwing their head back to use extension to initiate rolling.  Using a toy or object that your child is interested and engaged in will encourage them to track it visually which they will follow with their eyes, head and then body as you move it to just over their head.  They will also try to reach for it which will further bring their abs into it as well continue the motion in the direction of the roll.  They also need to bring their leg and hip over which can complete the motion onto their belly.  In the beginning they usually need some extra help at the hip to guide them towards their belly, as well as to prevent them from falling right back onto their backs.  Don’t help too much at the hip because they need to start figuring out how much muscle activity they need as well as how far to continue the action (so they don’t fall back) and how to stabilize.  All of the trial and error is great opportunities for them to develop motor planning and work on movement exploration.  Once they are on their belly often their arm can get stuck under their body. If you tickle at their pecs (front of the shoulder) sometimes you can encourage them to pull their arm out.  Often they will figure out ways to maneuver their body until they can get the arm out from underneath them.

One final thing, make sure you help them practice rolling to both the left and the right so that they can maximize their mobility as well as develop their strength equally on both sides.



  1. […] even more tips related to rolling? The wonderful Starfish Therapies has put together this short video and post about how to encourage your baby to roll from back to tummy, plus this general post about […]

    Pingback by 10 tips for helping babies learn to roll - Mama OTMama OT — January 5, 2014 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  2. […] 10.  Encouraging Rolling – From Back to Stomach […]

    Pingback by Top Ten Posts of 2014 | Starfish Therapies — December 31, 2014 @ 4:49 pm | Reply

  3. i have had and understand everything and it sounds interesting but my child is 10 months now and she is not rolling from her back to front and she just learn to sit without support recently but she is active she holds toys and notice familliar faces please help me out about these delays

    Comment by nonhlanhla xaba — March 25, 2016 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

    • Unfortunately I can’t ‘help’ without seeing your child but I would recommend having a therapist look at her if you are concerned or trying to help her roll so that she gets better at it.

      Comment by Starfish Therapies — March 25, 2016 @ 10:58 pm | Reply

  4. […] helping your baby to roll, by lifting him sideways and letting him play on his side. After a while assist him in transitioning from back to tummy and the other way round until he can roll about all on his […]

    Pingback by Handwriting skills: building strong core muscles – zmax mama — April 1, 2016 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  5. Hi, thank you for this post and video. It has helped me encourage my almost 6 months old baby roll from back to belly. You mentioned that it is important that the baby learns to activate their flexor muscles to roll rather than using extension. I’ve also read elsewhere in a presentation by a paediatric PT to carry babies in the flexed position. Can you clarify the reasonings behind this please? Thanks.

    Comment by Angela — July 13, 2016 @ 8:12 am | Reply

    • I am not sure of the reasoning or the context in which it was described to carry babies in a flexed position so I am not sure I am able to answer your question. It is important for them to activate their flexors for rolling though as you mentioned in the beginning of your comment.

      Comment by Starfish Therapies — July 13, 2016 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

      • Hi, sorry I wasn’t very clear in my initial comment. I am actually after the reasons behind why it’s important to activate flexors when rolling in your post. I only added in the content about carrying babies in a flexed position as I assumed (probably incorrectly) that they are related. Thanks.

        Comment by Angela — July 13, 2016 @ 10:53 pm

  6. […] Rolling – Instead of picking your kiddo up and placing them on their belly, use a toy and get them engaged and then help them roll over onto their belly so that they can get to the toy. Even if you don’t have time to get them engaged, you can still help them to roll so that they start to learn there isn’t some magic force that moves them from one place to the next! […]

    Pingback by Transitional Movements | Starfish Therapies — May 29, 2017 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

  7. […] 10.  Encouraging Rolling From Back to Stomach […]

    Pingback by Top Ten Blog Posts of 2017 | Starfish Therapies — December 30, 2017 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

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