What If My 4-month-old Child Can't Control His Neck?

cute baby lying down

What were the things you were most curious about while raising a baby before they were born? You might often wonder how to tell if the development of their large muscles is progressing well, as children need 'time to learn how to straighten their neck' and time to learn how to sit alone. For children at this age, muscle development is not just a symbol that the child can move, but a measure of how well the child's brain and body are growing.

Today, I'm going to share with you the timing of a baby's neck strength development and some other key areas of motor development!

When will my baby straighten their neck?

At around 3 to 4 months of age, children usually begin to stiffen their necks. At this time, if your baby is not able to control their neck and head at all by the end of 4 months, you need a professional diagnosis. If they cannot straighten their neck properly, follow-up movements such as turning over or sitting are impossible, so early examination is necessary.

Tip:

If your child’s neck continues to lean to one side when they straighten it, they may have torticollis. This also requires examination.

How is the motor development of children aged 0-1 years old?

▶ Tilt neck: Around 3 months of age
▶ Turn over: 4-5 months of age
▶ Sitting: 6-7 months of age
▶ Turning onto their back and crawling: 7-8 months of age
▶ Walking: 12-15 months of age

baby on a lounger

Start Tummy Time!

Tummy time is when the child is in a prone position. At this age, babies spend a lot of time lying down. Taking a variety of positions during the day greatly helps your child’s muscle development. Tummy Time develops the muscles in your child’s neck and shoulders, as well as the muscles your baby needs to roll, sit, and crawl.

Put the baby down on a safe, hard surface, and when the baby is in a prone position, Tummy Time is complete. You can do it on the floor or place the child on the parent’s tummy or lap. Use a loud toy, rattle, or rolling ball to keep your child in a prone position.

In the beginning, doing Tummy Time 2-3 times a day for 3-5 minutes at a time is good. Once your child gets used to it, gradually increase the time of each session. Tummy Time can be done at any time. It is also possible to lay the baby on their stomach for a short time during playtime, or for a short time after feeding.

After bathing, apply lotion to your baby’s back, change their diapers, etc, and then do some Tummy Time. Try doing Tummy Time in your spare moments in your and your child’s daily routine. It will be of great help to your child!

Tip:

It's also fun to lie down and do Tummy Time with your child. After you, the caregiver, are lying on your stomach, talk and babble with your child who is also doing Tummy Time. You can also use a mirror, etc. to attract your child's interest. 

Please note this:

Even though your child can hold their neck upright, you should not engage in play movements such as throwing the child high. Raising a child high in the air and then catching them can have a shocking effect on a baby's brain. When holding a child, it is necessary to always support their head and neck.

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Author: Lee Ji-hyun

- A Secondary School Level 2 Teacher Certificate
- As a real mother of a child, she ponders specific parenting tips between reality and theory. She has worked as an educational civic activist and freelance journalist.


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