by SARA AHMAD
Once your baby has head control and about the same time that he learns to sit on his own with support, he'll learn to roll over. He'll eventually learn to flip over from his back to his tummy and vice versa, and he'll use his newfound skill to get around a bit. The incentive for those early rolls is often an elusive toy – for you.
When It Develops
Your baby may be able to kick himself over, from his tummy to his back, as early as 4 months. It may take him until he's about 5 or 6 months old to flip from back to front, because he needs stronger neck and arm muscles for that manoeuvre.
How It Develops
At about 3 months, when placed on his stomach, your baby will lift his head and shoulders high, using his arms for support. This mini-push up helps him strengthen the muscles he'll use to roll over. He'll amaze you, and himself the first time he flips over. While babies often flip from front to back first, doing it the other way is perfectly normal, too.
At 5 months your baby will probably be able to lift his head, push up on his arms, and arch his back to lift his chest off the ground. He may even rock on his stomach, kick his legs, and swim with his arms. All these exercises help him develop the muscles he needs to roll over in both directions – likely by the time he's about 6 months old.
While some babies adopt rolling as their primary mode of ground transportation for a while, others skip it altogether and move on to sitting, lunging, and crawling. As long as your child continues to gain new skills and shows interest in getting around and exploring his environment, don't worry.
Your baby developed his leg, neck, back, and arm muscles while learning to roll over. Now he'll put those same muscles to work as he learns to sit independently and crawl. Most babies have mastered sitting up sometime between 6 and 8 months; crawling comes a little later.
You can encourage your baby's new skill through play. If you notice him rolling over spontaneously, see if he'll try again by wiggling a toy next to the side he customarily rolls to. Or lie down next to him on one side – just out of reach – and see if he'll roll to get closer to you. Applaud his efforts and smile. Rolling over is fun, but it can also be alarming the first few times.
Although your baby may not be able to roll over until about 5 months, it's best to keep your hand on him during diaper changes from the very beginning. Never leave your baby, even when he's a newborn, unattended on a bed or any other elevated surface. You'd hate for his first rolling-over experience to result in a serious injury.
When To Be Concerned
If your baby hasn't figured out how to flip one way or the other by the time he's about 6 months old, and hasn't moved on to sit and try to scoot and crawl instead, bring it up the next time you talk to his doctor. Babies develop skills differently, some more quickly than others – and some babies never really take to rolling over. Keep in mind that premature babies may reach this and other milestones later than their peers.
The Pros & Cons Of Competition
It is very important to teach your child the difference between being successful and being driven to win at all costs. Here's how to recognise the benefits and drawbacks of competition and to keep your child's appetite for winning from getting out of hand.
What Does A Child Learn From Competition?
It's impossible to protect your kids from competitive situations. Your child can learn some valuable lessons from healthy competition that will serve him well as he gets older.
The importance of playing by the rules: Five-year-olds are just starting to understand that rules are the basis of any game. When everyone makes up his own rules, no one can play together and the game isn't enjoyable. The earlier your child learns this lesson, the more fun he'll have playing with other children as he grows older.
Be a good winner and a good loser: A good winner knows that he should not throw tantrums for winning a game similarly a good loser knows not to pout. This is a crucial lesson for your child to learn and it's also important that he learns it early in life. Six-year-olds may be able to get away with throwing temper tantrums when they lose, but 16-year-olds who throw fits are rarely tolerated. The older your child gets, the harder it is to back track and teach him to be a good loser.
The value of giving your best effort: It's not important whether you win or lose, but how you play the game is significant. You've heard this a million times because it's true. A loser can feel good about his efforts because he tried his hardest. Furthermore, a winner may look back on the game and realise his victory would have been impossible without that extra push at the end. The more your child is exposed to challenging situations, the clearer this concept will become.
When Competition Gets Out Of Hand
Although they can be valuable learning opportunities, competitive situations can easily get out of control. Look for signs that your child thinks winning is more important than playing the game. For example, suppose your child is playing with his friends. If the rules keep changing, and some kids cheat while others quit and refuse to play, it's time to take a break. You may want to suggest that the kids work on a puzzle together or play a game in which everybody wins.
Dangers Of Being Overly Competitive
When children are too focused on winning, they may start to evaluate themselves based on how many victories they achieve. Even if they win 90 per cent of the time, they'll never be satisfied. This is devastating to a person. They're always on a treadmill looking for the next win. All the more reason to nip an overly competitive nature in the bud.
If your child is too focused on competition, he'll do anything to avoid losing. He may cheat, lie, or change the rules of a game to win. Furthermore, he won't try a new game or activity unless he thinks he'll be good at it.
If your child has to win everything, try to find out why. Talk to your child. Is he scared that if he loses, no one will like him? Is he trying to imitate a successful older sibling? Help him put things in perspective. A few losses don't mean he's a failure in life. Try to point out some of his accomplishments, and remind him that no one can be great at everything. If your child is deeply upset by every loss, don't be afraid to seek professional help.