Motor milestones: Learning to roll

baby on his tummy rolling over

Has your baby mastered head control? He’ll soon be ready to learn how to roll over. This is an important milestone for your baby because it marks his first big movement all by himself. As strength in his arms, back, and neck increases, he will begin to discover new ways of moving his body.

When should I expect my baby to start rolling over?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies should be able to roll over in both directions by 7 months. But around 3-4 months your baby will develop enough upper body strength to turn from his tummy to his back. It may take him until he’s about 5 or 6 months to flip from back to front, because he needs stronger neck and arm muscles for that movement.

Rolling over for the first time usually comes as a surprise for you and your baby. It’s a new experience for him, so it may be scary at first, but don’t be surprised if rolling soon becomes one of your little one’s favorite tricks.

How can I help my baby roll over?

Learning to roll involves good head control and enough strength of the neck and arm muscles to push himself up. So tummy time will be the perfect way to strengthen and train those muscles, since he has to hold his head up and push himself using his arms to be on his tummy. During tummy time you can encourage your little one to roll, see if he’ll try by wiggling a toy next to his side or lie down next to him on one side –just out of reach– and see if he tries to turn to get closer. As your baby gets stronger, he’ll kick his legs, flail his arms as though he’s swimming, start pivoting side to side, and then finally roll all the way over.

What should I watch out for?

If by 7 months your baby hasn’t rolled over and isn’t sitting or trying to scoot, talk to your pediatrician about it. As your baby discovers new ways to move around, make sure to keep him safe, specially when he’s on the changing table or on high surfaces.


Would you like to learn more about tummy-time? Download Kinedu! This app deep dives into other relevant topics and suggests personalized activities depending on your baby’s age and milestones.


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