As a child care provider, you may often support parents in tracking developmental milestones. It’s easy to get invested and worry that the child is missing out on something or dealing with developmental delays. If it’s the latter, it’s certainly going to affect how you handle care. Rolling over is a big one that parents may have questions about.

Remind them that every baby matures at their own pace. While there’s a general range, falling outside of the general timeline doesn’t mean disaster. Like crawling or walking, rolling is a milestone that actually has a broad timeframe for them to achieve it. And, some babies just do things in their own unique order.

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So if you’re wondering whether or not you or the parents need to be concerned, let’s start with the basics.

When Should A Baby Roll Over?

You may initially see a newborn do a bit of side rolling, back and forth, in their sleep. Eventually, however, the ability to do this on their own seems to go away. So those first rolling motions aren’t typically considered a milestone.

Types of Rolling Over

Some like to break down rolling into two components. When do babies roll from belly to back? And when do they do the opposite: when do they roll from back to front?

Being able to independently roll from front to back usually happens once the baby has a bit more muscle definition. As their strength grows in their arms and upper body, they can flip themselves from their back to their tummy. The first time, this may come as a surprise for you and the baby. But soon, they’ll repeat it more and more. This can also lead to some crawling activity too.

Typical Timelines

Most babies have enough strength to roll over around four months. Some may be able to roll as early as three while other babies could take longer. Rolling from their tummy to their back often happens first. At six months, most babies also become skilled at doing the reverse.

Why Is My Baby Not Rolling Yet?

There may be a number of reasons why the little one you care for has yet to roll over.

If they are still just a few months old, they might just not be ready. Neither for you to help them roll over nor to do it on their own. Their muscles may still be in development and not quite strong enough to pull off this action. You’ll want to see at least the ability to lift their head (especially while on their belly) before watching out for rolling.

At four or so months if a baby hasn’t shown interest in more movement, you can try some gentle encouragement to see if that helps. More tummy time or belly bait—using a blanket or doing the motion for them—can all be useful techniques.

The baby may also just be more focused on other skills. After all, they have a lot to learn when it comes to movement. There’s only so much a baby can process all at once.

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When To Talk To A Doctor

If you can’t seem to encourage the baby to roll over on their own or if there are other health issues at play, you can bring this up to the parents to discuss with the pediatrician around six months. They’ll do an evaluation of the child’s motor skills. If there’s a lack of interest in movement outside of rolling, it may indicate a developmental or motor delay.

You can use the American Academy of Pediatrics’ developmental delay tool to give you some information to help them start that conversation. You can also watch out for additional signs of delay. The parents can bring all of this information to their appointment. Once they’re in the exam, they can ask about neurological conditions or if other factors are affecting the baby.

A physician may begin an early intervention plan with the child or offer other helpful methods to encourage rolling. Make sure the parents keep you informed so you can implement them as well.


Now that you’re armed with the information, get ready for some rolling! At Sittercity, we want to help you connect with a family where your experience and care for children can really shine.

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