How To Teach A Baby To Roll Over (With 1 Simple Technique!)

By Paula McLaren •  Updated: 01/04/23 •  7 min read  •  Baby » Baby Development

Learning to roll over is one of your baby’s first major milestones. And you’d be surprised by how quickly it can happen! Here are the top tricks and tips to help you learn how to teach a baby to roll over with confidence and ease.

At What Age Do Babies Roll Over?

Babies will first learn to roll over from tummy to back between 3 and 4 months old.

Most babies will roll in both directions by around 6 or 7 months of age.

REMEMBER: As with all developmental milestones, the time at which your baby is able to do certain movements varies from child to child.

Check out this post to learn more: When Do Babies Roll Over? 6 Subtle Signs To Look Out For!

How To Teach A Baby To Roll Over

Your baby’s ability to roll over is a big deal and one of the first major developmental milestones that they will achieve. However, it is important that you offer your little one plenty of opportunities to learn and practise their new skill!

Here is the simple technique I use to help you know how to teach a baby to roll over:

  1. Start by placing your baby on their back on a soft, flat surface. This will give them plenty of room to move around and explore safely.
  2. Encourage your baby to lift their head and shoulders by placing age-appropriate developmental toys or other objects just out of reach. The looking and reaching actions will help them develop the muscles they need to roll over.
  3. Once the baby is able to lift their head and shoulders, you can try helping them roll over by strategically placing a toy to the side of your baby in preparation for a roll.
  4. Starting on their back, gently bend and bring the leg opposite to the side the toy is on and move it up and across the body to begin a ‘roll’.
  5. As they roll over, gradually straighten their leg and let your little one naturally bring their hands forward and reach for the toy to help them finish the roll.
  6. Allow them to play on their tummy with the toy on then practise moving them back and trying again!
  7. As the baby becomes more comfortable with the motion, you can gradually reduce the amount of support you provide, allowing them to do more of the rolling on their own!

NOTE: If you are a more visual learner, check out Corinne Hagins’ Starfish therapies‘ lovely YouTube video showing this exact technique in practice.

How To Teach A Baby To To Roll Over - NHS Surrey
Image Credit: NHS Children and Family Health Surrey

Signs Your Baby Is Ready To Roll Over

When establishing how to teach a baby to roll over, you need to look out for a few signs that your baby is ready to roll over first:

  1. Baby is lifting their head while lying down
  2. Baby is making swimming action with their arms
  3. They are rocking on their tummy
  4. They are pushing up on their arms with their chest off the floor
  5. Baby is twisting their legs in an attempt to roll over
  6. They are reaching for toys whilst on their tummy

Exercises To Help Baby Roll Over

As well as initiating rolling over and encouraging your baby with toys, you can also discover how to teach a baby to roll over by helping to strengthen their muscles through exercises such as:

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TOP TIP: Don’t overuse baby bouncers, swings and jumpers as they will not help your baby to roll over or develop the skills and muscles required to move independently.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Teach A Baby To Roll Over

Looking for more information about how to teach a baby to roll over? Find answers to the most common questions here.

Do Some Babies Skip Rolling Over?

Yes. A few babies will skip the rolling over stage and go straight to crawling or bum shuffling. 

REMEMBER: As long as your little one is progressing physically and building strength in their upper body there is nothing to be concerned about.

When Should I Worry If My Baby Is Not Rolling Over?

It is normal for babies to develop at different rates, so it is not necessarily a cause for concern if your baby is not rolling over at the same time as other babies their age. 

However, if your baby is significantly behind in their physical milestones, has a weak upper body and little core strength or if they have not rolled over at all by 7 months old, it may be worth discussing a plan of action with your healthcare professional.

TOP TIP: Knowing how to teach a baby to roll over is as much about providing the right opportunities to develop and learn the skill as well as lots of parental encouragement!

What To Do If Your Baby Rolls Over While Sleeping

As parents, we all know that we should place our babies on their backs to sleep… Therefore, once they learn to roll over onto their tummies it can be rather alarming as we worry if they will be safe or not sleeping on their front.

While it is important to always put your little one to sleep in their crib on their back… if they roll over, do not panic.

Your baby is now strong enough to lift their head and shoulders and move independently to ensure they can breathe freely. 

Learning to roll over usually happens once the main high-risk stage of SIDS has passed.

Do I Need To Prepare For My Baby Rolling Over?

Yes, you definitely need to prepare yourselves and your house BEFORE your child can roll over.

You will be surprised how far and how quickly they can roll into potential trouble!

To create a safe environment cover electric sockets, and remove all dangling items such as cables, curtain cords and tablecloths. 

Most importantly, never leave your baby on an elevated surface unattended.

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Paula McLaren

Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the childcare industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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