After Hayden’s 9 month check up where the doctor told us that he had dropped in his percentile for weight, she also started to get concerned at his lack of movement. As she ran through the checklist of “milestones” he’s supposed to be already doing, or close to doing, I had to declare that, no, he wasn’t doing any of those things, which included crawling, standing, rolling all over, and getting to a sitting position from his back or belly. While she wasn’t extremely alarmed, as he is sitting up extremely well, she did strongly encourage us to get down on the floor with him more and do a lot of practicing, movement, exercising and general floor play. I believe her exact words were, “If you love him, you’ll stop holding him so much, and put him down more.” Tough words to hear, but I took them to heart and here’s how we’re helping Hayden push along those milestones./>-Practice Standing: While you don’t want to stress the legs of a young baby too much, by forcing them to walk and stand for extra long periods of time, our doctor did encourage us to get Hayden to stand up for short periods of time to strengthen his legs and get his feet used to feeling what it’s like to be on the ground. When you try to get him to stand, many babies by this age make little stepping motions of up/down, up/down, while Hayden’s natural reaction is to pull his legs up so they don’t even touch the floor! I’m not sure if it’s a combination of us holding him too much and now he’s gotten a bit pampered (spoiled), or he’s just a little slower in that developmental stage, either way, we need to get our little buddy’s leg strength up! As you can see from the photo above, he’s not a huge fan of standing, even for less than a minute!
-Practice Getting Into Crawling Position: Hayden’s trunk strength is excellent, and he is flexible and agile enough to freely twist and turn, but he’s not even close to being able to get into a crawling position from his tummy or from a sitting position. He is really trying to get there though, so we’re encouraging him by getting on the ground with him and cheering him on, as he tries to go after his toys, which we keep just out of reach. We at times, help him out by moving his legs around if they get stuck, so he can start to learn what his legs are supposed to do and get a taste of success.
-Practice Getting Into Sitting Position: Another developmental milestone in the gross motor skills area is the ability for them to get into a sitting position from their backs or tummies by sort of rolling on their side and pushing themselves up. While we have found Hayden twice now sitting up after a nap, we don’t know how he got himself into this position, but we know he can at least do it, so we are not as worried about this milestone. Still though, when we are on the ground with him playing, and he’s on his tummy, we do help him get his hands in a position to push himself up.
When all is said and done, it’s hard to know if the only thing Hayden really needs is a bit more time on the floor, moving around, and of course time. His fine motor skills are on track, and with his personality being one who is a little laid back and happy go lucky, he could just be on his own time table. But as the third child, he’s on the go a lot, in the car seat, and he gets held a lot by mom and dad, grandparents, and big sister. While time may be the answer, and not extra practice, it’s a good way to spend more time together, encouraging movement and play.