Head and neck control

Stages of Development

Tummy Time is very important for head, neck and back control and strength. Doing tummy time multiple times every day during awake time from soon after birth helps your baby build neck, head and upper body strength to crawl and pull to stand when they are older.  Though the timing will vary from baby to baby, the order that the development occurs will remain similar. Babies must achieve head control before they are able to work on sitting or walking.


Teaching tips

For babies up to three months start with tummy time on your chest. After three months, start moving to the floor.

  • Start with 1-2 minutes and build up to 5-10 minutes a few times a day
  • Use mirrors so that baby can see themselves – this encourages them to lift their head
  • Use a small rolled up towel under the chest and arms that helps the baby lift their chest but keeps forearms in contact with the floor
  • Use a ball or interesting objects such as scarves or colourful toys to get their attention
  • Timing is everything, do tummy time when the baby is happy. If the baby gets upset, stop and try again at another time.
  • Try doing tummy time indoors and outdoors on different flooring – rugs, carpet, grass and hard floors. Be aware that a soft surface actually makes tummy time harder.
Exploring Head and neck control

Try to spend time with the baby on the floor, lying next to them or facing them. Try tummy time on your chest, across your lap or on your arm.

Provide multiple opportunities every day for tummy time both indoors and outdoors.

Distraction is important, use different interesting objects to get baby’s attention.

Try introducing some of KIDDO’s engaging and age appropriate activities to encourage tummy time:

  1. Mirrror Mirror
  2. Aeroplane
  3. Exercise Ball Tummy Time

As babies get older, it is important to still encourage tummy time for development of strength and postural control. Try playing a game of Animal Walks and slithering like snakes and crawling like bears or setting up crawling obstacle course where you have to slide on your stomach through tunnels and under chairs and tables.


Babies will first work on achieving head and neck control, then upper body strength in the arms, shoulders and upper body, then lower abdominal strength and finally, the balance and strength and needed for sitting, then walking.

Tummy time will move from:

  • Newborns:
    • Brief head lifts
  • 2-3 months:
    • Lifts head 45-90 degrees, may start rolling
  • 4- 6 months:
    • Pushing on forearms and moving to straight arms.   
    • Head lifts 90 degrees.
    • Reaching for toys.
    • Starting to pivot and pre-crawling movements.


More head and neck control activities

Head and neck control
girl crawling out of tunner
Head and neck control
Educator holding baby up in air
Head and neck control, Balancing