Babies learn to roll to grasp for toys that are outside of their reach and to explore their environment.
Rolling develops the muscles in your baby’s tummy and back, which helps them to gain the strength they need to sit and move between positions. It allows them to explore and gain new experiences, which helps with other areas of development.
It’s important for your baby to spend lots of time every day on the floor playing in different positions. Placing toys just out of your child’s reach around them on the floor will encourage them to try to roll.
Ensure your child isn’t always placed under a baby gym when they’re on the floor, where toys are in easy reach above them. Avoid placing them in any type of seat – including bouncy chairs, push chairs, car seats, door bouncers and baby walkers – for long periods, as this may prevent them from learning how to roll.
Encourage your baby to roll throughout the day. If you’re moving them from their front to their back, or from their back to their front, help them to roll rather than picking them up and placing them.
Babies usually first learn to roll from their tummy to their back by pushing up unevenly on their hands and rolling to one side. It’s really important to place your baby on their tummy to play frequently throughout the day so they have the chance to practice this skill.
If they can't roll to either side by around six months, or they can't temporarily hold a sitting position by around nine months, and you’ve tried all of these techniques but you’re still not seeing any improvement after a few months, please speak to your health visitor or GP.
If they can’t get from a lying to a sitting position by twelve months, please speak to your health visitor or GP.