Many of the usual exercises at this age are unnecessary now, and they are replaced by other exercises or applied force is changed during the exercises. Thus, for example you can skip performing hand massage, and pay more attention to those muscle groups that develop the most rapidly: the lumbar region, pelvis and legs. There are in the 6-12 month old baby massage complex only those exercises for hands that help your baby develop support skills (remember that it is in this age he begins to move in space on his own – he starts crawling).
Exercises in a supine position
Stretching hands and fixing them in a bent position (up, down, sideways). Take your baby’s hands in your hands, take them up as high as possible. The arms should be straight. Gently pull the baby’s hands up, and from the side put them back along the baby’s body. Bend his arms at the elbows slightly pressing baby’s wrists to his shoulders.
Do the same exercise by pulling arms down and bending them at the elbows.
Spread your baby’s arms apart, pull them slightly, then bend the elbows, pressing wrists to the shoulders. You can do this exercise by spreading arms at different angles.
Repeat each exercise 2-3 times.
Circular arm movements. Take your baby’s hands in your palms and perform the widest circular movements in the shoulder joints. Repeat 3-5 circles with each arm. Exercise can be done with the both arms simultaneously in the upper and lower position or alternately (while one arm is up, the other one is down).
The main purpose of these exercises is the development flexibility, stretching and endurance of the shoulder joints as well as the development of deltoid and trapezius muscles.
Chest massage is performed the way described in the complex 2. Repeat 3-5 movements of each type. At the end of massage you should press on the chest (2-3 times) to activate breathing and prevent stagnation.
Active sitting down by involving arm muscles. Take your baby’s wrists and slightly supporting, encourage him to sit down. During the exercise keep your hands so that your baby’s arms are bent – biceps are actively working at this time.
The exercise helps develop the muscles of shoulder girdle and arms.
Tummy massage does not differ from those described in the previous complexes (1,2,3). Perform each type of massage movements (stroking, rubbing and kneading) from 4 to 6 times.
Turning straight legs to the side. Take your baby’s legs so that your thumbs are on their back sides, and the other fingers enfold their front sides. Lift the baby’s straight legs up and lower them to the side until they touch the table (rotate the pelvis), lift them up again to the original position. Repeat 3-4 times in each direction. Keep your baby’s legs straight, they should not bend and the body should not turn to the side (you should rotate only pelvis). The exercise develops the muscles of the pelvic area, back, abdomen and hip flexors.
Walking and running imitation at a different pace. Put your baby on his back, take his legs and while bending his knees and hip joints, imitate walking and running in a supine position. Do this exercise at a different pace for 1-3 minutes.
The exercise prepares the baby to move in a vertical position, strengthens the leg muscles and the pelvis, promotes the development of walking and running skills.
Spreading the bent legs apart. Bend your baby’s knees and hip joints, and then gently spread the legs apart slightly pressing down on his knees. Repeat 2-3 times, every time spread the legs a bit further and fix his knees at the end of the movement for 2-3 seconds.
The exercise develops the mobility of hip joints, helps develop the hip and pelvis muscles.
Foot massage is performed the way described in the previous complexes, but massage more thoroughly the inner arch of the foot for it gradually starts forming at this age. Repeat each movement 3-5 times.
Shaking. Once you have finished massaging feet, enfold one baby’s shin and shake the leg. Then shake the other leg.
Rolling over from back to tummy. Talking to your baby or drawing his attention with a toy, encourage your baby to roll over from his back to tummy. Usually babies at this age are able to perform this movement on their own or with a little support at the very beginning of the movement. Repeat the movement in each direction 2 times.
Exercises in a prone position
Back massage is performed the same way described in the complex 3 but knead the muscles of the back and buttocks more thoroughly. This helps strengthen blood flow and activate the muscles before massaging.
Development of hand support function. Since babies usually begin to actively move in space with the help of crawling at the age of 8-10 months old, the exercises that help develop arms in a crawling position are included in this complex.
Your baby lying in a prone position, lift his lower part holding his lower edge of the chest, so that the baby rested in your hands. Slowly move the baby’s body forward. He will start walking on hands moving them forward. Make 4-5 “steps”. This exercise should be performed by about 8-8,5 months old, then move on to the next exercise.
Original position is the same. Slightly lift your baby’s pelvis, holding it with your both hands. The exercise is done the same way as the previous one.
Both exercises help develop the muscles of shoulder girdle and arms as well as develop the crawling skill.
From about 8,5 months you should include crawling with support into the complex. Baby is lying on his tummy. Place your hand under his tummy, and using the hand (you can do it with both hands), lift your baby’s tummy off the table and put him on all fours. By moving your hands toward the baby’s head, encourage him to crawl with his tummy leaning against your hand.
The exercise promotes the development of crawling skill, activates all the muscles of the body, especially the muscles of the abdomen, back, arms and legs.
Buttock massage. You can exclude all the elements of classical massage at this age, except only kneading. You need to perform a muscle acupressure massage, since the lumbar curvature of the spine and sciatic nerve are being developed at this age. Acupressure activates these processes, helps the better functioning of the spinal cord lower parts and his nerve trunks.
Rising from a prone position to a sitting on the knees position. Your baby is lying on his tummy with the legs to you. Take your baby’s wrists, placing your palms along his forearms. Spread his arms apart (about 45°), and lift them up to the ear level. The baby in response to your movement will lift the head and upper part of his body, leaning against your abdomen with his feet.
Continue to raise your baby up until he sits on his knees. At about 9 months old you can continue to raise your baby up to a standing position. The exercise is repeated 2-3 times. It actively develops the muscles of the back, legs and arms, improving the skill of standing up from all fours.
“Floating” on the tummy leaning against the parents’ abdomen. Put your baby’s feet on your abdomen, and place your hands under his pelvis and tummy. Slightly lift the baby over the table, supporting him under his tummy. Your baby will straighten his back and will be happy to hang in such a position actively straining the muscles of the back, abdomen and legs. Repeat the exercise 1-2 times for 5-6 seconds. After 8,5 months old the duration of the “floating” can be increased up to 7-8 seconds.
Standing with support. Take your baby under his arms and put his feet on the table. The legs should be straight. Supporting the baby, leave him in this position for a few seconds. Repeat 3-5 times. In course of time you can lengthen the duration of the exercise and the number of repetitions.
The purpose of the exercise is to develop the vestibular system and the skill of standing in a vertical position.
Stepping, dancing. Keep on supporting your baby in a vertical position, and slightly bend his legs. Your baby will start “dancing” or stepping in one place. Leave your baby in this position for 5-7 seconds, then let your baby rest a little and repeat the exercise. As at an earlier age, you can move your baby forward imitating walking.
Shaking. Put your baby on his back, enfold his shins and shake his legs a little in order to relieve stress.