• At-Home Parent & Child Exercises From My Gym UWS

    3 Exercises For Days When You Just Can’t Make It Over To Class (Various Age-Appropriate Variations For 6 Months to 3.5 Years)

    By My Gym UWS

    This gymnastics trick helps children with motion, agility and with tucking their chins.

    6-18 months

    • To do a forward roll with children of this age, parents do all of the work. It is easier to be on your knees, and you may want to try it on a soft surface such as a mattress.
    • Hold your baby scooped around his waist with your stronger arm. (If you are right handed, hold your child with my right arm, on my right side.) Hold him like a football on your side, with his head facing forward.
    • Lean your baby toward the ground. Your child should automatically reach his hands to the floor. Use your other hand (left hand) to tuck and support the back of your baby’s head.
    • Roll him slowly forward; help him sit back up again.

    18 months-3.5 years

    •  At this age, many children can do forward rolls almost all by themselves. Just make sure they tuck their heads, and help them roll over.
    • Have your child stand at your side, reach down to the floor, and look at his tummy.
    •  Support him at the hips and help him roll forward, making sure his head is tucked.
    • If your child is not bending or tucking, scoop one arm around his waist–then as you help him roll forward, gently tuck his head.


    This skill is another variation of a backward roll, but your child rolls over your lap. This helps children with upside motion and agility and gives them an awareness of body and environment.

    6 months-3.5 years

    • Sit with your legs out straight. Place your baby on his back, across your lap. Your child’s head needs to be on the same side as your dominant (strong) arm.
    • Place your dominant arm right across your child’s tummy and grab his hips with both hands.
    • Lift your child by the waist and rotate him over your arm (like a backward roll over your lap).
    • Tip: Your child’s head and hands stay in contact with the floor, but don’t allow pressure to be put on the neck.

    Variation for 18 months+

    Encourage your older children to lift their legs first and then land on their feet. Have them stand up and reach for the sky after they roll over–this will also help to develop strong tummy muscles!


    This is a fun rolling skill that strengthens tummy muscles and promotes stimulation and an awareness of body.

    6-13 months 

    • Lay your baby on the ground lying on his back
    • Tuck his arms at his sides and roll him over onto his tummy. Make sure his arm is tucked under as he rolls and use your other hand to help protect his face from the carpet.
    • Some babies like raising arms above their heads, instead of tucking them by their sides. If this happens, again, protect your child’s face and hold his arms up.
    • Roll your child 1-3 times.

     For very young infants (without good head control)

    • Perform as above, but start with baby on tummy.
    • Support the head and shoulder as you gently help the baby turn from tummy to back.
    • Try to roll the other way, from back to tummy.
    • This skill will help them get ready to roll over.

     14 months-2.5 years

    • Lay your children on the ground with their bodies as straight as possible. Lift their arms up by their ears.
    • Slowly roll them onto their tummies, making sure their arms stay up. Continue to roll them 2-3 times.
    • If your children won’t keep their arms raised, so you can tuck their arms down by their sides to help them roll over too.

    2.5 -3.5 years

    • Children at this age can do this trick all by themselves, so encourage your child to independently lie on the floor as straight as can be.
    • Tell your child, “Reach your arms up by your ears, and keep your arms and legs straight!”
    • Have him use his tummy muscles to roll from his back to his belly and then over again to his back. (Of course, you can help them over when necessary.)
    • Ask them to roll 2-3 times.

    Learn more about My Gym UWS and its special teachers in feature story “A Gym Of Their Own.”

    For more information, visit my-gym.com/nyc or call 212-724-3400.

    See More Related Articles