Tips and Tricks- Increasing neck strength and head control

This post is my most popular post and I decided to update it from the original post from 2013- Updated 2/2/2016.  Please let me know if you have any questions!

 

This post is a follow up to my milestone post regarding development of head control.   So here are my tips and tricks on working on head control, but make sure your child is at the appropriate stage of development when you work on increasing their head control and neck strength.

baby head strength

Head rotation

0-2 month olds should be able to turn their heads side to side while lying down.

Strategies for if your child isn’t looking both ways equally:

  • Encourage them to rotate their head by slowly moving a light-up toy or brightly colored toy within their line of vision to each side to encourage them to turn their heads to follow it.
  • Position them in their crib so that all interesting items/toys/people are on the side that they rotate to less.  I encourage parents to change crib or baby positions to encourage rotating to the less favored side.
  • Use sounds/music on the less favored side if there are no interesting objects to look at.

Neck strength- Neck extension with tummy time activities

It’s never to early to start tummy time! 🙂  From the post I linked to above, around 2-3 months, infants should be able to hold their heads up about 45 degrees intermittently and can also rotate their heads back and forth intermittently.

A great tummy time activity for newborns is also a great skin to skin activity- simply being on their parents chest on their tummy.  You can alter the angle that they are on their tummy to make it easier or harder.  This position also places your face close enough so they have something interesting to look at while they’re on their tummy.

 

 

 

 

You can also do this activity with your infant lying in this position on exercise ball. You can make the activity harder by rolling them so their body is more parallel with the floor, or you can make it easier by rolling them so they are more in an upright position.  *** make sure to appropriately support their head if you are going to challenge their neck strength in an more upright position!

 

 

 

 

Neck strength- Neck Flexion with Pull to sit

As your baby’s neck strength improves, I recommend beginning practicing pulling to sit.

From my previous post linked above, by around 6 months, there should be no head lag with pull to sit, and a baby should be able to lift their head off the floor when they are lying on their back to help when you pull them up to sit.

Strategies to start improving neck flexion– which is when they lift their head up and bring their chin forward when they are on their back or in sitting:

baby with full head lag and not enough strength to hold head up with pull to sit

  • I wouldn’t recommend pulling up all the way initially, but begin by pulling up just enough to lift their shoulders a little off the bed to get your child used to the feeling of being pulled up, then gradually pull up higher as you see their neck strength improve.  In other words, don’t pull all the way up if their head continues to lay back on the bed like the baby on the left.
  • start practicing pull to sit from a more upright position as shown here: 

 

  • You can make pulling to sit a little easier by trying to pull up to sit with your baby sitting up at a slight angle.  This will give them less gravity to fight against when trying to hold up their head.
  • As your kiddo gets stronger, then you can start lowering the angle that you are pulling them up to sit from.
  • *** make sure you are appropriately supporting their head during a pull to sit, in case they lose control of their head and their head drops back!

 

Head control and neck strength in all directions

  • The strategy I use most to work on head control and neck strength is the exercise ball.

  • You can use this with a child sitting or on their tummy, and shift them forward, backward, side to side working on having your child hold their head in the middle as well as possible.  

    • You are not only working on head strength in this position, but you are also working on trunk strength and will feel your kiddo use these muscles to try to keep their body upright.
  • In sitting you can slowly tilt them backwards so they try to tuck their chin and hold their head up, which will help them with holding their head up when you pull them up to sit. ***Again make sure to appropriately support their head when doing this exercise.

                   

 

Tummy time to increase neck strength

Tummy time is the best way to increase overall neck strength and head control.  Some other ways to work on tummy time aside from being on the floor:

  • on ball as above
  • over boppy pillow
  • on inclined couch cushion
  • on their  parent’s knees or chest

  


Remember that any time your child is not lying on their back, they are working on increasing their head control and neck strength, so minimize lying down time when your child is around 2-3 months.



Categories: Tips and Tricks Tuesdays

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79 replies

  1. Hi, I’m a fresh physiotherapist and am working in a paediatrics centre. I must commend you on these amazing resources!

    Please I would like to find out what to do about excessive trunk hyperextension in a baby with cerebral palsy.

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    • Hi, thanks for visiting my site! If the hyperextension is due to spasticity then you will probably need appropriate positioning/support in a seating or standing device. You may also need to modify your various positions to position their body to decrease the tendency for hyperextension. Another option is bracing but that would have to be discussed with an orthopedist to make sure it doesn’t affect any joints or growth. Taping with kinesiotape or using a theratog to help promote muscles that flex the trunk may also help. Let me know if that helps!

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      • its really knowledge adding stuffs….am currently working as intern physiotherapist at federal level…pls may I know the general overview for a child presenting with paraplegia/paraparesia post spina bipida surgery..

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      • Hello Natalie.
        My baby was born at 29 weeks prematurely. She is presently 4 months adjusted age and 8 weeks corrected age. She has meet most of her milestones for her corrected age thus far, except for lifting her head. Her head lags . She cries a lot during tummy time because she has colic for the past four months and has a lot of stomach cramps. What can I do to help her lift her head? Since being on her tummy is challenging as a result of having bad colic.

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        • Hi Mandy, you right to not challenge her too much in tummy time right now because of the colic and her age. I would say the best strategy is to hold her on your chest or how you would carry her with her looking over your shoulder. When holding her in this position, I would adjust your angle to challenge her with hold her head up. So you standing up straight supporting her head will be easier than you leaning in a slightly reclined position. So you can recline slightly and see how she does holding her head up for 30 seconds to a few minutes. And if she is able to hold her head up, then you can gradually recline more and if she can’t hold her head up then you should start in more upright position. hope this helps, please let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for reading my blog!

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    • Hi Gee-Sly, my baby girl is now 4month old. She can carry her head during tummy time but when I carry her facing other people she can’t held her head up and she just bow her head. Should I worry?

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  2. I just like to appreciate this.I am working in a paediatric center centre for neuro development.This helped a lot.

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  3. Hi how do I prevent baby from smushing his face into the ground? We do tummy time on a soft surface of course!

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    • Hi! Thanks for reading my blog. If your baby can’t keep their face off the floor, they are probably not strong enough to hold their head up in a face down position yet. There are a few ways you can change tummy time to keep your child from smushing their face on the floor. One way is to do tummy time on an exercise ball like i described in this post: https://beyondbasicplay.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/tips-and-tricks-tuesdays-tummy-time-tips/ – this method allows you to place your child on their stomach and keep their face off the floor. You can also tilt the ball backwards so they aren’t looking straight down. This strategy is useful if your child doesn’t have enough neck strength to hold their head up fully against gravity yet. Another method is to have your child on their tummy over a rolled blanket or towel which will lift their chest off the floor to give their face some clearance. You can also have your kiddo over your knees like in this picture https://drkimfoster.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/mom-and-baby1.jpg – which provides an alternative way to try tummy time off the floor. Hope these are helpful, let me know if you have any questions.

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  4. Natalie, your website is great! You have wonderful exercises. Currently, my son is 11.5 weeks old and just started PT for his right torticollis. During his initial evaluation at PT I was told he has met all of the milestones for his age so far besides having head lag. The PT could tell that he was trying to engage a little bit initially but still had bad head lag. He is great with tummy time after lots of practice. The PT told us that she is feeling optimistic and would like to see the head lag gone by 4 months. If not then she said it would be a concern. My husband and I have been working with our son the past few days since we found out all the time with the sit to pull exercise (which was advised by the PT) and tummy time. Are there any other exercises/strength type activities that can help his head lag? I am very concerned and scared about other delays/central nervous system problems. Have you worked with children who could meet all skills besides head lag and have success without other long term problems? Also, could you advise me with any other exercises or recommendations to help with his head lag besides the sit to pull and tummy time? Thank you!

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    • Hi Kelly, thank you for reading my blog and so sorry for the delayed reply! So regarding your question about working on head lag. Since it appears that your son has decreased neck strength, I would focus on overall neck strength and not just practicing pull to sit. I would recommend working on his neck strength in sitting and lying down first. In sitting I would support his trunk so he only has to focus on holding his head in place. When in this position, you can gradually and slowly shift his body in different directions (forward, sideways to the right and left, and backward). Moving backward slowly is a great way to engage those neck muscles that assist with pulling to sit. I would gradually make these activities more challenging by moving him farther in each direction. a great way to practice this activity is with sitting on an exercise ball like in 1 of the above pictures. For lying down activities, I would work on lying on his back and encouraging him to rotate to look to his left and right, which incorporates some key neck muscles. You can make this activity more challenging by lying him on his side and encouraging him to rotate and look to the side away from the floor. Hope these make sense, if not please let me know. Also note that all these activities are encouraging him to use his own muscles and not to force him to turn a certain way by having someone physically.

      In regards to if i have seen other kids like this. it’s hard to say since I haven’t directly seen your son. So i would recommend you discuss this further with your PT and pediatrician to see if they can clarify what specific strength impairments your son is presenting with to help give you a better idea of what could possibly be causing these delays.

      Let me know if you have any more questions! thank you!

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  5. Hi ..
    My baby is 7.5 months now but she still cant hold her head steady.i m really worried.she can move her head left to rt and rt to left also during tummy time she can hold her hold and move her head shee even tries to,pull her head up while lying on pillow.but can not hold her head up and steady.plz help me.i m really worried as here we lack gud doctors.

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    • HI Apurva, thank you for reading my blog.
      I have a few questions first. Do you mean your daughter cannot hold her head steady when she is sitting? If she can hold her head up while on her tummy then that is a good idea of her neck strength. Is she rolling already? Is she trying to crawl? is she able to remain sitting on the floor by herself? If she is able to roll and is trying to crawl then that means that she is gaining strength and is learning how to move her body. If she is not sitting by herself, do you have to fully help her stay seated or can she help to stay balanced? thank you! -Natalie

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  6. Hai,

    My son is 2 years old.Still his neck is not strong. Last one and half year doing physiotherapy ,but no big change .he can’t hold his head steady more than half minute and also he is not able sit by himself.
    He can move his head right to left and when he lying on the bed raise his head and looking everywhere but it’s not more than half minute.I am so disappointed

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    • HI Iqbal, thank you for stopping by my blog. I’m sorry to hear that your son still cannot hold his head steady for a long time. Does he have a diagnosis that explains why he cannot hold his head up after receiving physiotherapy for over a year and a half? Does he roll or crawl or play on his stomach? -Natalie

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  7. Thank you soo much for your reply i m v grateful to u i need someone to talk to v badly.YES she can’t sit without my support and help i need to make her sit with pillows all around.she cannot hold her head during sitting it either lags down or she tries to pushes back.i need to motivate her to Luk towards me and hold her head straight she is able to do it only for few seconds.she rolls from stomach to back v easily but not from back to tummy ( only twice she roll from back to stomach).she can not crawl on knees but thru body she moves little distance.waiting for reply.thank u so much really

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  8. Also one more thing when I pull her by lifting her hands she also try to lift her head her head does not lag backwards.

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    • Hi Apurva,

      I hav a baby boy and his condition is also similar to your daughters. He is in his 9 th month now. I will let you if I find anyway to improvise his motor skills. Please let me know if you find any good therapists or doctors who hav already treated babies with less neck control.

      My mails is sharan.dontha@gmail.com
      Thank you

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  9. My child is 1 year now… he cannot hold his head steadly but can do for few seconds and he cannot sit without support… please give a tip.. i am very scared about it…

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  10. hi ……
    plz rply as your suggestions can big difference in our life

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    • Hello Apurva,
      Sorry for the delay in reply.

      I can try to answer your questions but it is not possible for me to give accurate suggestions since I have not evaluated your child. Have you gone to your doctor about your concerns? What have they told you about why there may be delays? my suggestions are below, but you need to speak with your doctor before trying these to ensure that we are not affecting another problem that may be going on. And please remember my disclaimer (https://beyondbasicplay.wordpress.com/disclaimer-limitations/ ) listed above.

      Regarding your question, here are some suggestions once you have clearance from your doctors:
      to help increase head control, I would recommend having your child sit in a reclined position instead of trying to sit up straight. Sitting in this position will make it a little easier to work on holding their head up and practice turning to the left and right. Being in a reclined position leaning against some pillows also allows your child not to try to hold their trunk up and allows them to focus just on holding their head up. You can work on having her hold her head up longer in this position to see if she can hold her head up more than 5 minutes.

      I would also continue practicing activities on her stomach, having her be on her elbows, with her elbows positioned under each shoulder. This way she can work on her neck strengthening and try to hold her head up. You can either have her be on the floor propped on her elbows, or on your chest or exercise ball so she is not fully looking down, which will make it easier to practice holding her head up. You can practice this activity using toys or objects that catch her attention and see if she can hold her head up at least 2-3 minutes.

      It is good to see that you said she is trying to crawl forward on her stomach, that means she is motivated to move around. I would continue encouraging this activity by using toys or anything that motivates her to move forward. You can help her crawl by pressing against her feet so she can push off your hands to push forward.

      Please let me know if you have any additional questions,

      -Natalie

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  11. thank you soo much as your suggestions really help me as a mother……i hope there is nothing serious …..ya during tummy time she can hold her neck up for good.one more thing i want to say around her first 4 months she never used to come on our shoulder as she does not like it she always use to play lying down on bed…..is this the reason of her delay neck control

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  12. my son is 9months old, he had exchange transfusion on day 5 post birth following hyperbilirubinemia due to RH incompatibility. he could not control his head in any direction and head is still lagging only improving nw since starting physiotherapy. he cannot sit alone, roll over or crawl. am worried sick as to the prognosis and would like to know as to after how long will things be normal with physio?

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  13. Hi my name is Dina. My daughter’s neck is not straight and her head is flat on one side. She is one year four months now. Will my daughter’s neck has a chance to be straight and head will correct itself. What can I do to help her.

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    • Hello, so sorry for the delayed reply! I would recommend talking to your pediatrician about your concerns and then they can refer you to a craniofacial specialist and they can talk to you about treatment options. At this age you would have to look at her neck alignment and see what the cause to see whether it is a muscle tightness issue or a bone issue. A craniofacial specialist will give you a better idea about what could be going on. let me know if you have any other questions and thank you for reading my blog!

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  14. Hi Natalie,
    Really impressed with your comments and suggestions. My baby is a premature twin and has hydrocephalus. She had the shunt inserted when she was 3 months old corrected. It took her a while to get her head control and now she has a reasonable head control. But she is still unable to sit and i think she is not motivated to sit also. We have a trained therapist who provides physical therapy six days a week for the past three months. Is there something else we can do her.
    Eagerly waiting for your reply

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  15. Hi…my son was born 7 weeks premature at 33 weeks gestation. He is now 14 weeks not corrected. Luckily he did not have any issues other than being jaundiced. At this point he does not have very good head control. I understand that he would only be 7 weeks if he were full term, but he has been right on with many other things. He smiles and coos and follows objects. He currently weighs 12lbs 11oz, so he is a good size. However, I am having a terrible time with tummy time. He screams so much as soon as he is placed on his belly and wants nothing to do with lifting his head. He does move his head left to right. He does roll from his belly to his back, but I think he does it just so he can get off of his belly. I’m very excited to try the above suggestions hoping these work to strengthen his neck muscles. This is our first child and with him being premature, I held him a lot, not realizing how important tummy time was. I’m hoping I did not cause him to be delayed. He will go for his 4 month check up in 2 weeks, so I plan to discuss this with the pediatrician at that time. Do you have any other suggestions for me or am I just being too hard on him. I just want the best for my child.

    Thank you in advance!

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  16. Hi Natalie,

    Thank you for this wonderful forum. Your blog motivated me to talk about my son’s issues with a hope of receiving some empathy. I am a desperate mother worrying about her son’s head control, shape of the head, Laryngomalacia, rolling over and weight issues all the time. My son is 6 and a half months old now. He was born a month earlier than my EDD. He has been having weight issues right from the beginning. He is now 13.8 lbs. He still looks like he is just 3 months old. He still does not have complete head control. It shakes terribly. Though I realized this from 4th month I have spoken about this to all the doctors I have been to and i was only told that it would get better with time. I knew something was not right and finally ended discussing with the doctor that I am visiting now. The current doctor has recommended a exercise of having my baby lie on his tummy and touch the bottom of the spine with 3 fingers. when I do this my son does lifts his head but cannot hold it for more than 10 to 15 sec. I lure him with toys and colors and everything flashy. Note that I started with this exercise just a week back. when i hold him on the shoulders its easily recognizable that his head is not in control. He also has flat head syndrome for which I have not been recommended anything. His back of the head is completely flat and tip of the head is raised visibly. In short his head has not rounded. I personally suspect Plagiocephaly (after googling). I have raised this concern every time I visit the doctor but have been assured that it will get rounded off once he rolls over which he doesn’t seem to be doing. He moves to the side since he is 4 months and till date and then rolls back flat. I call him lazy but that’s just keeping myself calm. I am dead scared within. I am also told that my son’s wind pipe has not developed due to which i can hear him breathe loudly and also it sounds as if a frog is croaking. For this, doctor has said that it would resolve within 8 months of age and if not then 1 and half years old. Long wait it is. If you have any suggestion for all of the above, please tell me. I am really worried.

    Waiting.

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  17. Hi Natalie I just read your article and I am really concern about my 6 months old baby. She can’t lift her head up longer than few seconds before burying her face down again. She started rolling from back to tummy since she was 4months old. She hate being on her tummy and will cry. Because of that I always let her lie on her back until recently I tried again. Even when I carry her or tried to let her sit up, her head will always tilt over to one side. Is that torticollisis? Is it too late to fix her problem? I am really concerned and sad.

    I love your article but would love to try as soon as she wake up but I’m wondering do you have a video that I can watch? I’m a visual learner. Btw should I take my daughter to a chiropractor or a Physio? Which one is better?

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    • Hi Concerned mom, I recommend going to your pediatrician first to rule out anything that can’t be handled by a physical therapist. Her rolling seems to be on track so that is good. To check if her neck is tight, I would have her lie on her back and encourage her to look to her left and right by using some fun toys and see how far she can look by herself. I would not do any stretches until you see your doc and if they recommend physical therapy. I would go to a physical therapist but that’s because I am a PT and I can’t speak much as to what chiropractors do with toddlers. A pediatric physical therapist will be knowledgeable about the various causes of neck weaknesses, but we don’t know if that’s the case with your child until you see a doctor or PT First. Hope that is helpful, let me know if you have any other questions and thank you for visiting my blog!

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  18. HI my daughter is seven months old ,but she can not hold on she can turn it left and right ,and able to raise on tummy time,but my problem is the head is heavy than his body,that make it difficult for her to hold her head is there any help.

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  19. Hi Natalie,

    How are you doing? Seems like you missed to reply my queries…

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    • Hi Paru, sorry for the delayed reply. I just read over your question again. If your son is still having hard time holding his head up, I would modify the tummy time by not having him fully face down. I would continue holding him like you are and also sitting him up supporting him with pillows on his side and with his head supported so he can work on holding his head up that way. I would also try lying down on his back and encouraging him to look to his right and left often so he can strengthen those muscles as well. are there any other doctors you can see if you feel your current doctor isn’t addressing your concerns? Regarding the head shape, If it is flat on one side then it is called plagiocephaly, if it is flat directly in the back with the forehead changing shape that is called brachycephaly. They do make helmets for these but you would have to get evaluated to see if the degree of flatness warrants a helmet. I would push your doctor more If you are still concerned and maybe ask to see a PT if there are any in your area. Let me know if that makes sense and if you have any other questions.

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      • Hi Natalie,

        Sorry for a late response. I happened to check your reply today. Thank you for replying. whatever you have advised makes total sense.
        Since the time I wrote to you, I had increased my Son’s tummy time. I would put him on his tummy every 1 and half hour after feed. Initially he would cry but as days passed he would tolerate tummy time for 15 minutes and more. i would keep some extremely eye catching toys and lured him to lift his head up. He slowly began to show sign of improvement and began lifting his head up steady. Guess what!! he rolled over for the first time on 30 Sep. Now he often rolls over. One concern down.
        Guess it is brachycephaly then. I would look for a doctor who gels with my concern and takes a step forward to treat. Helmets are something that I have heard about in the west but not here in the east. However I shall discuss about this with the doctor. I am still hoping that since he has rolled over now his head should show some improvement.

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  20. Dear Madam: My son is 14 months old but he can not hold his neck properly and for long time……he can not sit uptill now……my whole family is very concerned for his growth…he is also suffering from isovaleric acidemia due which we have used protein-free milk in his early days but now we feed him I-Valex-1….plz guide me that how his developmental delay be improved plz…..

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  21. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. what are some suggestions for a 2.5/3 month old who has excessive xtensor tone ( not due to spasticity or neurological issue. ). the baby began rolling from stomach to back at 2.5 months of age but i think its because of his dominant extensor tone. Hedoes not tolerate sidelying very much but is a pro in prone. My other concern is that his arms need to be constantly readjusted because he prefers his arms extended along side his body as if he’s in a “superman position while on his stomach. your opinion? any suggestions?

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    • I would try to promote flexion as much as possible. Positions that encourage activation of flexor muscles would be a good way to start. My favorite way is prone on an exercise ball. The shape of the ball works better to challenge extensor tone versus being on prone on the floor. So I would try prone on an exercise ball and change the angle that he is in while on the ball. So I will gradually have them prone in a nearly standing position and then tilt the ball forward until the are face down and then add perturbations. Sitting on an exercise ball and tilting it backwards slightly to activate flexor muscles can also help. I also do this while sitting on the floor and sitting a child at a slight reclined position to encourage flexor activation. Make sure to support head well in case he doesn’t have the strength or uses extensor tone to throw his head back. Let me know if that makes sense or if you have any questions! Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂

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  23. This is very nice and knowledge adding… am a physiotherapy student and have learned a lot from this post thanks so much and continue helping as…God bless you

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  24. Hie. My baby is 6 months old. He has Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome. He can hold his head up and turn his head left and right during tummy time but when i hold him to sit up, his head lags behind. Also, when i put him in a sitting position, the first day he sits well but when i try to make him sit the next day, he arches his back and folds his legs into a kneeling position. ive also noticed that he doesnt like to be held up in a standing position and bends his knees each time i try to make him stand a little. how do i encourage him to hold hishead up and also to sit without arching his back?

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    • Hi Pangy, thank you for visiting my page. It sounds like your son is gradually progressing to improve his sitting balance and neck control. 6 months is around the time where children start to sit independently. I would continue to work on sitting balance with providing appropriate support to his trunk either by your hands or by pillows or leaning him against a stable support surface. Always make sure to support his head if you don’t think he has enough strength. Your son was probably arching his back in sitting because he did not feel strong enough to maintain the sitting position independently. So I would continue to work on sitting balance, which will also increase your son’s head control.

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  25. Hi, my daught now 28 month old but still not control head and neck i m very warry about.please help me to improve her condition.

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  26. Hi, my daughter now 28 month old but still not control head and neck i m very warry about.please help me to improve her condition.

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  27. hi.
    my daughter has congenital heart disorder which requires surgery. she is now 3 months old but her weight is just 3.5 kg. she could b a down baby as well. she moves her head left to right and right to left also moves her head backwards wen in stright position or on tummy. but cannt keep her head in control. i encourge her but pulling slowing holding her hand and she also try to lift her shoulders. plz tell me what else should i do. your blog is very helpfull and i m very worried as head control is baseline for other milestone. she ll undergo surgery after 1 month. is it due to her heart condition that her neck muscles are still so weak. her head is bigger as compared to her body and growth is slow due to down syndrome

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  28. Hi my baby is Four months old, still his neck holding is not improved, when i try to make hm still he always keeps his head down, am worried about him

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    • Hi Gauthami, sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your son’s head strength. Have you looked at the tips on this post to give you some ideas of what to practice? Have you talked to your pediatrician about your concerns? If your son is having trouble holding his head in sitting, then I would not force him to try to hold his head up during tummy time. I would continue to work on his head strength in sitting, and try to position him so he is leaning back against something in sitting. You can place him in sitting next to folded blankets or pillows so then he can work on holding his head in the middle, but still has support in the back of his head. As his head control gets stronger, you can lower the support on the back of his head gradually until he is just supported at the base of his head. This is where I would start to work on his head control in sitting. You can also work on his head control by having him lie on his back and work on rotating his head side to side to look at interesting objects around him. This will help to strengthen neck muscles that will assist in holding his head up. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Thank you for stopping by my blog!

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  29. Hi Natalie,
    I read so many comments on your post and have to say mothers are really trying a lot with a lot of issues faced by babies nowadsys..Anyways my son is 10 months old today,actually a twin his twin sister is already cruising,he is yet to have a head control.though we started a therapy with the physio at the general hospital but am yet to be satisfied.am waiting desperately cos the doctors said he will do it.he talked about spacity or whatever the name is ,currently we are on different exercises for him,rolling a towel to massage his body all over from his palm down to his feet,sitting him up to hold his neck with a towel in a sarong style don;t know the name ,tickling him on his back to make him roll,cos heis yet to be rolling over.the only sickness they had was jaundice at birth.they wer born 36 weeks 4 days and now one is doing well the other is still progressing,is there any other exercise you can recommend and how many times in a day can i do this,is it fine just once in a day?pls let me know.
    Thank you,
    deborah.

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    • Hi Deborah, thanks for reading my blog, I answered your question on my updated site here: http://www.beyondbasicplay.com/forums/topic/question-about-improving-mobility-for-a-10-month-old/#post-3097

      please let me know if you have any questions!

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    • hello laura,thanks again for the good works you have been doing.i am really impressed about the outcome of my baby he is quite improving to the glory of the lord.
      as at last tuesday when we went for the last check up we were told to continue with the exercise we were doing before but this time around to increase the massaging severally.up to his neck and cheeks.
      we were also told to make him turn and hold his two arms and his two legs to turn him making his neck to drop at the front everytime we are doing it.so as at now he is sitting up though the neck still fall sometimes,but he is really encouraging.he can hold objects with his two hands and even trying to pick his foot in his mouth..

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      • Hi Deborah, that is so great that he is continuing to make progress! let me know if you have any more questions, and thank you for the update. I love hearing how these kiddos are doing!

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  30. Hi, My niece is 2.5 years old and has been diagnosed as CP child she is also a microcephaly . Can you suggest how can we work on her neck holding, As she is unable to hold her neck. Her response is also very poor. Please help me how can we work with her to achieve her milestones.

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  31. I’m a mother of 5 and my last child is having complications with holding her head up.
    I’m really worries about this. My daughter is 8 months and she hasn’t been turning and she’s having a hard time sitting, I’m worried that this is something bad…
    Help.

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    • Hi Laura, how is your daughter doing now? Is she able to hold her head up if you are holding her upright? Is she receiving physical therapy? Is your daughter able to hold her balance in sitting if you hold her in sitting with your hands around her waist or do you need to keep your hands under her arms for her to hold her balance? once I know that, I can give you more tips… also have you talked to your pediatrician regarding these concerns? Thank you! Natalie

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  32. My 3/5yrs baby girl has no vision then how can I do neck exc

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    • Hi Khyati, have you tried using sound toys and also different textures to encourage her to turn and lift her head? I would try a variety of different sounds like tapping, rattles, ringing, and musical toys. You can also touch her face and hands and have her reach for different textures with her hands. Some textures can include: feathers, brushes, fur, and also rougher textures like on different fruits. Let me know if that helps and if you have any questions, thank you! Natalie

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  33. Hello. I was hoping for some advice.
    My girl still struggles with tolerating tummy time at two months. She tolerates it and even seems to enjoy herself when she gets to “fly” on her tummy. That is, when she’s supported on my shins or I have her in a sort of football hold. Which I figure is better than no tummy time at all. I try to to put her on her tummy on more solid surfaces frequently throughout the day, but she has a short fuse on how long she’s willing to put up with it. I try to make t more fun by getting down on her level and interacting or giving her a mirror, but that doesn’t seem to change much. They get her attention, but it’s not enough to make her think being on her tummy is okay. She’s never expressed any interest in toys, so that avenue is not much help. She hates lying on her side even more. Being propped up on a towel or pillow doesn’t make much difference to her. At the same time, in the few moments she isn’t shrieking, I think she might be trying to flip over onto her back, maybe? She straightens out a leg and leans it across her body like she’s trying to twist, but mostly it just hangs there like it’s caught in some invisible rope. It’s weird, as she doesn’t seem to be trying to roll over onto her belly from her back, which usually comes first, right?
    Am I just an excessively worried first time mom who expects too much from a two month old?

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    • Hi Ashton, thank you for stopping by my blog! You are doing a great job promoting tummy time for your daughter. So typically a baby begins to start rolling from tummy to their back around 4 months old. So right now I would not expect your daughter to roll over. At 2 months, the goal is to introduce tummy time in order to work on increasing neck strength and head control. I would continue doing that football hold without having her be fully face down. At this stage my goal would be to increase tolerance of being on their tummy, but I would place her more at an angle so they are slightly more upright. She may be fussing because her neck isn’t strong enough to maintain the position, so she might be tiring out more quickly. So instead of being on the floor, I would try that football hold, or try her on her tummy on an exercise ball like in the picture in this post, or best of all, to try her on her tummy on your chest as you are sitting up at an angle. You should be fully supporting her in all these positions since she doesn’t have the balance and strength to hold herself at this point. let me know if that helps or if you have any questions! Also be sure to talk to your pediatrician about any specific concerns you have regarding your daughter’s health!

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  34. Hi natalie, my daughter was born at 31 weeks. She is mild cp,abe to sit unsupported, puts herself to sitting and crawling positions, drags and sometimes crawls, able to stand and walk while holding on to things bt can not hold her neck straight. This makes her unstable because she can not stand and walk without support. How can i help her gain neck strength apart from tummy time and pulling to sit. She has been on physiotherapy since she was 8 months, she is now 2years 4months.

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  35. Great information! My 6 month old (will be 7 months on the 31st) lags her head when pulled from a lying down position to a sitting position. She has very strong neck muscles when on her belly (raises head without a problem, looks around, forces herself to sit up in reclined chair, etc). I am nervous because I watched a video on youtube where it states that head lag can be a sign of autism at 6 months but it was also said that many babies have head lag at 6 months and will usually disappear by 9 months. Also, if I pull her up by her arms from a reclined position in a baby bouncer seat, her head will be aligned with her shoulders. The same if I pick her up in a lying down position from under her arms. Her head will only lag if I pull her up from her hands when lying down completely. Should I be worried and is this normal for a 6 month old? Am I overreacting? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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  36. Hello,
    Thanks for the advice ,as at now my baby is already turning but the neck is yet to fully controlled,if u seat him up he usually cries sometimes.we are actually scheduled for our therapy session tommorrow. and i prayed he will seat and walk before the year ends.
    Thanks .

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  37. Hi! I wana tell my 3 year old baby have little big head and not perfect round.please let me know what should i do to make his Head roundly.thanx

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  38. Hi my baby was diagnosed with congenital torticollis at 2 months of age. He is now 8 month old, the torticollis is still present, but not that severe. His head is slightly flattened on one side, but his face is OK and rest of his development is good. He is currently able to pull to stand and even walks along his play pen by holding on to the rails himself.
    Since he was about 6 months old, I have been finding it harder and harder to do stretching for him as he completely resists it and cries and struggles away — and he is a strong one. The PT advised to do active stretch, get him to turn to attractive toys etc, which we have been doing for the last 2 months without great improvement in his condition.
    My question is– how important is passive stretch in the treatment of his condition? How best to do it with a very strong and resistant baby? Or should I just focus on active stretch (though it doesn’t seem to help a lot)? Many thanks!

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  39. I ‘m really impressed with a lot of comments I saw here, pls my son is 7 month but can’t hold his neck for 1minute undo he went through blood transfusion at 10day of birth. Pls alight me wht to do!!! Thks

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  40. Hello. My son is born premature 28 weeks. Now his original age is 4 month old and he did not lift properly his head always looks upward and there is lot of stress I his body. Should I worry.

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  41. My son is 4 months he can carry his neck up and down he moves it very well but the neck Is bending one sided why.

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  42. hi Madam..my litttle girl is 6 months now. she is not rolling over but she likes her tummy time and very perfectly holding her neck and head that time. But her neck control is not so good. she is trying to roll on but the same time she will jerk her head back so she couldnt lift her head. she will roll her full body except her head. even she s having head lag.what could i do ..pls help

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  43. Hi am a pt from kenya…thnx i appreciate the advices….i have a patient with hydrocephalus bt he is 8 yrs old he cannot hold up his head at all since its very heavy….can these exercises apply to him also and if not which once can…..

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  44. Hi Natalie,

    My baby is 1 month 1 week old, she is not lifting head when placed on tummy, her neck also lags when pulling up.. I haven’t tried tummy time yet. Can I start giving tummy time from now. Will my baby be able to lift in the next two months. I am so worried. Please do reply me..

    Like

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