This is one of the exercises all parents should be doing with their babies. I know I know it looks a little bit weird but trust me when I say it is amazing for your babies development. Not only is it great for stimulating their posterior muscles (back and neck) but it also stimulates their vestibular system (balance and spacial awareness). Babies and toddlers tend to really enjoy this motion so it becomes quite fun for them!
Watch my video to learn more and see how the exercise is done.
Ball Rocking to Promote Baby Development
So a really common exercise I get parents to do with their babies, their toddlers and sometimes even school aged children depending on what we find when we examine them is what we call Ball Rocking.
This exercise may seem a little bit silly and a little bit weird but it is really powerful for babies development and really important later on in life if a child has certain conditions or things going on with them.
Essentially what ball rocking is is just a form of tummy time. We know tummy time is really important as it helps strengthen a babies neck and back muscles. However what it really does is activate a part of the brain which is realy important in motor development. Motor development is that ability to control movement and essentialy be able to move as us adults do. Ball Rocking helps to stimulat this on an increased level.
Other benefits of Ball Rocking
Ball rocking has other benefits to. The next benefit is that by moving the ball with the baby on it puts motion into their system which activates the vestibular system. The vestibular system is a little part which sits in our inner ear which helps us balance and co-ordinate our movement by telling us where we are in space. When we activate the vestibular system we also activate part of the brain that is important for healthy brain development.
The other benefit is because we have movement it really engages your baby. When a baby is young they don’t have the best eye sight and they can’t see what we see. They can only see things really close to them (and this is only outlines of shapes not full picture) or they can see movement. So putting movment into their tummy time really helps to keep them engaged and keep them excited.
How to Perform Ball Rocking
Ball Rocking is really easy. All you need is an exercise ball/fit ball/pilates ball – whatever you call them. Then you get bub and hold baby one of two ways on the ball.
The first way is to just pop them on their tummy on the ball and have 2 hands holding onto their bum/back. Then I like to get up behind/beside them and have my front knee up and back knee on the ground for extra support.
The other way you can do it is to hold baby on the back with one hand and hold the ball with the other hand.
I like to do it the frst way as I feel I have more control of baby if i’m holding both sides of them.
Then all we are going to do is rock them on the ball. Now it is really important that when we are going forward that we get baby below the horizontal line. It doesn’t work if you keep them flat. We really want to dip them below horizontal as this really fires up that part of the brain responsible for motor development as well as the vestibular system.
So rock them back and forth at a medium pace and you want to do this for about 60 seconds and then lift them up and you are done.
You want to try and do this 2-3 times a day for 60 seconds at a time. Or as much as you and baby can handle. If they start getting grizzly on the ball or they aren’t enjoying it then take them off and try again later.
So that is ball rocking!
It’s a really great exercise for any abby no matetr what their development is like. its just great to fire up that motor part of the brain and help get them moving and on their way.