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Can Bouncing a Baby on Your Knee Hurt Them?

Babe in Dreamland - Can Bouncing a Baby on Your Knee Hurt Them?

The knee bouncing of the baby is one of those activities loved by many new parents. 

When the baby is placed on their lap, bouncing is an instinctive action, not requiring conscious thought. 

It may be because it adds an extra layer of enjoyment, especially with music playing in the background.

Okay, but I wonder if lap-bouncing my baby could cause them any harm?

If done gently to a baby who has appropriate head control, bouncing them on your knee should be totally harmless. Moreover, this activity can be quite beneficial to them. Knee bouncing helps children to understand the concept of a steady beat, which is key to the growth of pattern recognition, early literacy and maths abilities. Furthermore, lap bouncing stimulates the vestibular system, which helps to develop balance and coordination and enhances gross motor skills.

It’s All About Common Sense and Understanding the Risk

Parents, especially daddies, like to engage their children in some more or less “risky” activities. To these more daring belong “; throwing a baby up in the air and catching themswinging the baby by their arms or legs, holding the baby upside down, jogging with the baby strapped to a parent front or back, and spinning with the baby in arms. 

And why are these activities risky?

Because there is a chance of an accident. 

For example, you may not catch your baby when you toss them up; or they may slip from your grip when holding them by the ankles, or even you may trip and fall when jogging with your baby or spinning them around. 

And I know what you say – it won’t happen to me – I will be super careful. But accidents take place unintentionally, unexpectedly, and without deliberate intent… That’s how they are – and we can’t control it no matter how much we want to.

The consequences of these accidents can be severe – from bone fractures in different body parts to brain injury. 

So, whilst most babies generally enjoy such high-adrenaline activities with their parents, these are highly unlikely to be recommended by healthcare and childcare professionals because of the potential for accidents.


Bouncing your baby on your knee, especially to a musical beat, is a totally safe activity. 

(Considering you are not being forceful and exaggerating how high and vigorously you bounce your baby up and down and causing your baby’s head to flop forwards and backwards – which, by the way, is totally unacceptable…)

But gentle bounces of a baby who sits steadily on your lap should cause no harm to them. 

What’s more, bouncing your baby on your lap has many benefits!

The Benefits Of Lap-Bouncing

1. Physical Contact and Strengthening the Bond

Babies love physical interactions with their parents. Knee bouncing is just that, with lots of giggles guaranteed! 

Interacting with your baby physically and spending quality time with them can have wonderful effects on their mental and physical development. 

That’s because when you hold, cuddle, sing to, or lap-bounce your baby, they feel safe, so their brain releases hormones that support healthy development. 

It’s such a simple and fantastic way to help your baby thrive! 

2. Being in Motion is Soothing

The bouncing and rocking motion can be incredibly soothing for babies. While they may miss the cosy sensations of the womb, the gentle swaying triggers a calming reflex in their brain. It’s a natural response that helps your little one feel safe and ready for restful sleep. So, don’t be surprised if your baby loves knee bouncing!

3. Development of a Sense of Rhythm and Beat

When bouncing your baby to bouncy rhymes like; Grand old duke of York, Horsey horsey, don’t you stop, Jelly on a plate, etc. your baby experiences a steady beat of the music

This Is The Way The Ladies Ride – Knee Bounce Rhyme for Babies

(In fact, babies were exposed to steady beats since pregnancy – when they listened to their moms’ heartbeats – yet another soothing sound indeed!)   

So, when babies get to experience and listen to the beat of the music, it helps them to develop the ability to hear the rhythm. 

It’s amazing how simple activities like clapping, singing and knee-bouncing, or dancing with your little one can help build their neurological pathways and set the stage for a lifetime of musical enjoyment

Related Post ===========>Why Is Music Good For My Baby’s Development?

4. Supports Early Literacy Skills

Furthermore, it turns out babies have a natural love for rhythm and music. 

A recent study found that infants as young as 5 months old can respond to the beat and tempo of the music and often find it more captivating than speech! 

The research suggests that humans are born with an innate predisposition to move and groove to the music. 

Okay, but why is it so remarkable that babies learn to feel the beat through bouncing?

Well, that’s because it helps them with their literacy skills! 

The ability to perceive and understand rhythm, including maintaining a consistent beat, plays a vital role in speech development and reading development. 

This is because rhythm helps the brain to distinguish between speech sounds and other noises in the environment, allowing babies to focus on and process language more efficiently. 

This early exposure to steady beat sets a foundation for later language and literacy development. 

Therefore, it is crucial for parents and caregivers to provide a rich language environment for their children, including exposure to music and rhythm through knee-bouncing, to support their language and reading skills.

5. Early Maths Skills too

The ability to maintain a consistent rhythm is also linked to early mathematical skills as well. 

Children learn through the beat, rhythm, and melody of the music, as well as through movement and instrument play when bouncing to the music is part of their day-to-day activities!

By repeating the steady beat present in music, children develop the ability to recognize and replicate simple patterns – which is a fundamental concept in mathematics.

6. Enhance Vestibular System Development. 

Did you know that knee-bouncing helps develop an effective vestibular system? 

Just like any other form of movement, such as rolling, sitting, dancing, or climbing the stairs. 

When your baby is in motion and changes positions, they keep practising their sense of balance by being in these different positions and using different muscle groups to remain balanced. 

But not only this. 

The vestibular system is responsible for coordinating eye and hand movement, as well as both sides of the body. 

So in simple terms, by lap bouncing your baby, you provide the sensory stimulation they need for healthy brain development.

Final Few Lines

Hope you are now convinced that lap bouncing off your baby will not cause them any harm, but quite the opposite. 

By incorporating knee bouncing into your interaction with your baby, you help them

  • develop a sense of beat and rhythm that supports early maths and literacy skills
  • strengthen the bond with your little one through physical interaction with them
  • keep them calm
  • enhance the development of their vestibular system.
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