Babies need a lot of stimulation and playtime to help them grow and develop their muscles. While there are many different options for providing this stimulation, parents still undoubtedly worry for safety. If you’re looking for a way to keep your little one safe and help them develop their muscles simultaneously, you should consider purchasing a play mat for kids. Not only does this provide a soft surface for them to play on, but it also ensures their safety.
Keep reading to know the different ways to develop your baby’s muscles and how the best play mat for babies helps your baby reach their motor skill milestones.
Ways to Develop Baby Muscles
A baby’s muscle development does not happen overnight. As days and months pass by, you’ll see their muscles getting stronger and their abilities expanding. Your little one will start lying on their tummies from arms and legs wiggling. Eventually they’ll be crawling, standing, walking, and finally, running! To support these developments, here are the things you can do.
One Stretch at a Time
Your baby’s muscles develop one step at a time, and so you must match the support you give to their age. For instance, with newborns, the best muscle growth assistance you can give are leg massages and some pedaling movement exercises; move your baby’s legs in a cyclical movement.
Then, as their muscles get stronger, you can introduce more activities like tummy time. You can have tummy time as early as after birth by letting them lay on top of you, tummy to tummy. When they’re a little older, you can assist them in rolling on their tummies until they can do it independently.
Sit and Stand
From simple tummy times, your baby levels up to crawling, sitting and standing. Help them strengthen their arm muscles and their spine by allowing them to have a grip on your hand as you slowly pull them up to a sitting position. At the beginning of this stage, ensure a cushion for their backrest. Then, as time passes, they’ll be able to sit up on their own.
After that, it’s time to help them succeed standing and walking by allowing them to hold on to you and the small furniture around them. Just make sure to babyproof your home to avoid anything falling on them.
The Role of Props and Toys
Aside from relying on you, know that there are plenty of other tools you can use to assist your baby’s muscle development. Here are some of them:
- Crib mobile: A crib mobile allows your baby to stretch their arms as they reach out to the colorful little trinkets and stuffed toys revolving.
- Push-pull toys and carts: Push-pull toys allow your baby to have a more stable stance, making them more confident to take steps and practice walking.
- Pikler triangle/Climbing wall: Kids like to climb, and instead of letting them climb different furniture at home, get them a toy designed to satisfy their desire to go up. Invest in ready-made Pikler triangles, or you can even make a DIY climbing wall.
- Crawling rollers: Crawling babies will have something to play with through a roller. These toys can be pillows for tummy time, or they can also be inflatables your babies can push and crawl after.
- Walkers and jumpers: These allow babies to stretch their leg muscles while ensuring they are safe.
Let Them Explore
It is natural for parents to feel worried when babies start moving and exploring. To make you feel more relaxed, know that their exploration is also for their benefit. They strengthen their muscles when they move.
With that, your role would be to ensure that they are roaming in safe spaces. Keep an eye on your baby when they are having tummy time, crawling, climbing, and practicing how to walk.
It may be tempting to give them a hand when they falter and fall, but it would be best to give them the independence to pull themselves up. These are the moments when they learn even more.
Involve the Whole Family
Caring for a baby, especially those already moving and exploring, takes a lot of work. With that, seek help and support from the whole family! You can take turns looking after your baby.
When your little one has a caregiver, you’ll be at peace knowing that even if they go on tummy time independently, there will always be someone to watch over them. And if ever they fall, there will be someone to pull them up. When there are toys and tools to help them develop their muscles, the caregiver can demonstrate how to use the equipment to guide your child.
Using Baby Play Mat Foam
You already know what to do to support your baby’s muscle development. You take care of them to ensure they are safe as they explore. Now, you can add another layer of protection and support on floor tiles with baby floor mats for crawling, walking, and playing. Here are the ways you can babyproof your home using it.
Use It in the Nursery
The nursery will be the first place you and your baby hang out. Babyproof it with the best baby play mat the moment you decorate this room as a preparation for the months when they begin trying to escape their crib. A soft, non-toxic play mat will catch them when they do.
Babyproofed Living Room
The living room will be you and your baby’s hang-out space. Instead of a regular carpet or a floor mat on raw tile flooring, consider adding a baby foam play mat layer. When your little one begins climbing the sofa and peeking through the window, you’ll know that there is play mat foam that’ll catch them if they fall.
Playpen with Play Mat
You can also set up a dedicated play area for your little one. This will be beneficial as there will be only one spot you need to babyproof. You can use a playpen to keep the play space gated and put all their developmental toys inside. Whether it is a Pikler triangle, a swing, or crawling rollers, you won’t worry, as there will be a play mat to catch your little one.
Active Play Outdoors
Time outdoors brings lots of benefits for your baby. It lets them have some time under the sun and get vitamin D. They can also breathe in fresh air. They can appreciate the colors around them and learn from nature. Before you let them crawl and walk, lay a play mat first to ensure no foreign object can harm them.
Characteristics of the Best Play Mat For Kids and Babies
A baby play mat can make a difference in protecting your little one as they continue developing their muscles. So, if you’re laying some down in different areas of your home, invest in the best. Here are the characteristics you should look for.
- Foldable/Puzzle mat: Pick play mats that can be folded or assembled and disassembled, so you can conveniently take them to different parts of the home, outdoors, or even when you travel.
- Has a Functional Design: Aside from floor cushioning, you can also pick a play mat that has an educational design. You can introduce the names of animals, numbers, and letters through a play mat’s design.
- Waterproof: Keep your foam mat from dirt by picking those with a waterproof design. Even when your baby eats and drinks in the area or they have activities involving water, you can just wipe off the spills using a damp cloth.
- Has an Anti-slip Foam: An anti-slip feature ensures that when your baby crawls, climbs, walks, or runs, they will not fall.
- Environmentally-friendly: With the variety of products these days, you can also pick an organic play mat with soft foam made of organic cotton to be more environmentally- friendly. Choosing this ensures that you have a non-toxic baby mat, free from harmful chemicals (formamide, flame retardants, BPA, etc.).
Get Your Baby Play Mat Foam from Ashtonbee
Knowing how to help your baby develop their muscles can be tough, especially when you’re unsure of what’s safe and what’s not. That’s why we’ve put together this short guide on how to help your baby with different stretches, movements, and props.
We hope that we were able to provide you with ideas on how to use a baby play foam in your home so that your baby or toddler can safely explore while getting stronger.
If you’re ready to get started, be sure to check out our selection of high-quality baby play mats here at Ashtonbee. Our play mats have educational designs, are foldable, made from non-toxic materials, include XPE foam, and are waterproof! They are the best ones in the market, so get one for your baby now!