Lets get kicking: how to encourage your baby to be an active kicker

Lying and kicking provides the young infant with a great deal of important experience for learning about how to coordinate the movements of the head, trunk arms and legs. Kicking is also important for strengthening the trunk and leg muscles. 

The first challenge for the infant is to learn how to keep the head and trunk steady when kicking or reaching with the hand. 

If your infant does not kick much or does not kick vigorously, there are a few things you can to encourage  more kicking action. 

Kicking with a consequence

You can encourage your infant to kick more by tying a small, not too noisy ball on one leg.  Or you can put something under his feet that makes a noise when he moves.  

Watch carefully how your infant responds.  If he finds the new experience interesting, that is good.  But if he becomes distressed or over stimulated, take away the noise maker. Try again at a later date or choose a toy that is less noisy. A few grains of rice inside a small partially inflated balloon makes a nice gentle sound. 

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In this video clip you see how Will aged 7 weeks responds to different stimuli either by becoming still and paying close attention to what has caught his interest or by excitement and increased kicking. 

Lying on a soft pillow or in a nest

Lying on a soft pillow or in a nest made of a duvet gives the infant additional support and which makes kicking a little easier. 

A plastic carrier bag can be inserted between the pillow and the pillow case. Now when the infant moves the legs there is an interesting sound. Watch how you infant tries out different kicking patters as he explores this new experience. 

In this next video clip you see how Will responds to the interesting new sounds from a plastic carrier bag.