Developing Head & Eye Movement

Laying on her back and turning her head

Babies will usually turn their head to follow the voice and face of their primary carers. Here you can see that at 4 weeks she can easily turn her head both left and right to engage with her mother. Changing the way your baby lays on their changing mat and in their cot helps to promote head turning to either side.

Following a toy

A great way to develop eye and head control is by following a toy. Here are a few examples when seated, held and laying down. 

Upper Back and Neck Extension

Laying on their front following a toy

At 3 months the baby has great head and neck control. She can extend her back and neck to turn her head in the direction of her gaze to follow a toy. She is also starting to develop arm and hand movements that will enable her to grasp toys.

Laying on their front on your chest.

This is another great position, a bit like the lazy leopard. This position has the added advantage that you can chat and interact with the baby. In this series you can see how the baby is able to lift her and turn her head comfortably from side to side.

On their front on your knees – lazy leopard

This is a great position to help develop neck and back strength whilst also allowing the baby to engage in their natural curiosity for what is around them. Here, the baby can lift her head up and easily turn her head to look around.

Playing on her side and tummy

Key points:

  • Encouraging a baby find balance on their side helps to start develop the movement patterns associated with rolling from front to back and back to front.
  • Spending time playing on their front develops strong back muscles as well as head control.
  • Here you can see the lovely shape in her back when she lifts her head up, her whole spine is involved in lifting her head to give her control and balance.
  • You can also see how well she can turn her head from side to side to follow her gaze.

Tummy time on a ball – 4 weeks old.

This is a great way to stimulate the balance centres in the inner ear. Just gently roll the baby back and forward by a few degrees for a minute or two as shown. This movement will help to stimulate the balance centres in the head which connect to the back muscles and extensors of the neck.