There is nothing more frustrating to a baby than getting stuck and being unable to transition to another position. Whether it’s trying to go from tummy time to sitting, sitting to crawling, crawling to walking, or going back down to sitting, difficulty transitioning between gross motor skills can leave both baby and mama feeling aggravated. But, it’s nothing a little practice can’t solve.

What is a transition?
Transitions are the framework that allow a little one to go from one position or movement to another. It is a sequence of movements that connects all the gross motor skills together, requiring coordination and motor planning across the whole body. And, usually, these sequences are fluid and seem effortless.

It’s not uncommon for a baby to struggle with transitioning a little, especially as they’re first learning a particular gross motor skill. However, frequent and extended trouble with transitions may indicate muscle weakness, stiffness, retained primitive reflexes and/or difficulties with motor planning and coordination.

Transition Practice Tips
You can help your little one with transitions by incorporating transition practice into your daily routine. Some easy examples are: 

  • Roll your baby from back to belly to initiate tummy time instead of placing them directly on their tummy.
  • Roll your baby from belly to back, then guide them into a sitting position, instead of simply sitting them down.
  • Show your baby how to move from sitting to their tummy in order to reach a toy, instead of just bringing the toy closer.
  • Guide your baby from their tummy or sitting into the crawling position, instead of placing them on their hands and knees.
  • Show your baby how to move from sitting in your lap or kneeling to standing by pulling with their arms instead of directly standing them up.
  • Help your baby bend their knees to go from standing to sitting.

Practicing transitions is really just a matter of being purposeful with your baby’s positioning and movements. But, if your baby keeps getting stuck, check out our Instagram for ideas! And, if you feel you need more assistance, join us for a Lil' Movers & Groovers class or request a one-on-one session. We are here to help and be a resource for you and your family!

Dr. Amie Dougherty

Dr. Amie Dougherty

Owner/Pediatric Physical Therapist

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