The first few months of having a baby are some of the most enlightening, but also stressful times as a parent.
This is the time when your newly born infant will be starting to learn basic skills that they’re going to be using for the rest of their life.
These aren’t so much the intellectual or emotional skills that they develop. Those will come later.
No, when your little one is in the first 4 to 6 months of their life, they’re learning the key motor functions that they’ll be using from the moment that they can move.
One of those skills happens to be their ability to roll over. It’s a simple skill, but one that is a sign of other motor skills later down the line, so it’s an important one to look out for!
In this guide, we will not just explain when your baby should be able to roll over at around the half-year mark, but also why it is important for them to be able to do so, what other skills they’ll be learning, as well as what you can do to help them learn at this crucial time.
When Should Your Baby Be Rolling Over?
So, when exactly will your baby start to roll over by themselves?
While the exact time or age will vary from baby to baby, it is generally accepted that your little one will be learning to roll over at around 4 months old.
You’ll likely notice this more and more as your baby starts to rock from side to side more often as they get older, before having the strength to turn themselves over.
This can be from tummy to back, or vice versa. By the time that they get to 6 months or half a year, they should be able to roll over both ways.
Why Your Baby Needs To Be Able To Roll Over
So, why is it so important for babies to be able to do this? What’s the big deal about being able to roll over by yourself?
Well, being able to roll over by themselves shows that a baby’s body and muscle tissue are developing as they should. Having the physical strength to turn themselves onto their bellies or back.
Not only that, but this also forces babies to have to use more of their bodies, from their arms, to their necks, and even their legs.
These are all parts of their body that they’ll be using for more tasks as they get older, so knowing that they are beginning to get some good hand-eye coordination from them at this stage is a great indicator of their overall development.
Plus, knowing that your child is trying to move for themselves, is trying to interact with and experience the world for themselves in some way, is a great indicator that they are at least a little curious about the world they are in.
In that sense, it is also something that is a decent indicator of their mental development, in one way or another.
Notes On Infant Development
It should be noted that while 4 months is considered the regular age that babies will start to be able to turn themselves over, keep in mind that every infant is a little bit different, and will pick up this skill at a slightly different time when compared to others.
Some might learn how to roll over earlier than 4 months, while others might take a little longer.
Generally speaking, the 6 or 7-month mark is probably the latest that you should be expecting this to happen.
If your little one has shown no progress by this point, it is worth taking them to be checked by a pediatrician, just to be sure.
It’s probably nothing serious if anything, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry with your little one.
Other Skills/Developments Around This Time
One of the things that can help you determine whether or not a baby is developing well enough to roll over is to see if they are picking up other physical skills or developing motor functions.
Holding Themselves Up
This is a motor skill that your baby will likely start picking up just before or around the time that they start to learn how to roll.
Your baby will start to hold their upper body up from being laid on the mat, either by their hands, or their elbows.
Lifting Their Head
This is a skill that will likely start to happen a little more around the time that your baby is learning to roll over.
In the first few months, babies’ necks are strong enough to support the weight of their heads without assistance from mom or dad, or some kind of seat support.
However, around the 4-month mark, babies will start to lift their neck and head up by themselves, and start to look around themselves.
Rocking Back & Forth
This is a somewhat later developmental stage, but it is one that rolling over is often considered a precursor to.
When your baby can hold a lot of their body weight up on their own and can turn over, you’ll probably see that your baby is rocking back and forwards, almost in a crawling position.
This is effectively a precursor to crawling and a sign that your baby will soon start to move around on their own.
How You Can Help Your Baby Learn To Roll Over
The best way to help your little one develop these motor skills is with tummy time.
Tummy time is when your little one spends a few minutes on their belly (under close supervision at all times), and allows them to try and use their motor skills a little more, such as their arms, neck, and legs.
These sessions shouldn’t last for more than 3 or 4 minutes and only be done 2 or 3 times a day, slowly building up to longer and more tummy times.
Again, we cannot stress enough that every child develops at their own pace, so don’t worry if you find that they’re not quite there yet. Just give them the space they need to take these steps by themselves.