Baby on the Move – 5 Ways to Encourage Crawling
Babies become mobile pretty fast! Between 7-9 months old, babies will typically begin crawling, with many starting to walk around their first birthday. It’s important to stay close to baby at all times while they’re crawling and learning to walk. Baby could end up crawling over to places and things that could hurt them!
Two Common Types of Crawling
Commando Crawl or Belly Crawl
When baby crawls, they are alternating their right arm and left leg, then left arm and right leg to move, using both sides of their body equally. Their stomach remains on the floor.
Crawling on All Fours
When baby creeps, they push up onto their hands and knees with their belly off the floor, using the same arm and leg movements as with crawling.
Benefits From Crawling
- Crawling teaches baby to use both sides of their body equally and helps them strengthen their arm and leg muscles.
- But it’s not just strengthening! Crawling also teaches baby how to use their arms and legs together in order to coordinate movements from both sides of their body.
- Crawling is one of the first motor activities that makes baby use both sides of their brain together too, so it’s very important!
- Crawling helps baby establish better learning patterns, visual tracking, and even helps with skills like getting dressed later on in life.
- Crawling helps baby establish a strong foundation of developmental skills!
- Creeping help to develop the strength, balance, and coordination baby needs to gain independent walking skills.
5 Ways To Encourage Crawling
Use Tummy Time Often
Baby can start doing Tummy Time every day starting the day they arrive home! Tummy Time strengthens baby’s neck, back, and shoulder muscles, which prepares them to enter the crawling stage. Remember to do Tummy Time during the day and make sure baby always sleeps on their back.
Parents can get on the floor with baby and demonstrate push-ups. Baby can watch you lift yourself up on your arms and baby can eventually copy your movements. You can also help them by providing support under their chest. Check out these 8 fun ways to workout with your baby.
Teach Baby to Rock on Hands and Knees
If baby is already on hands and knees teach them how to rock back and forth to get them used to balancing in this position. Play music in the background with a rhythm they can rock to or sing a song like, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
Position Toys Out of Reach
As baby gets ready to crawl and creep, place their toys slightly off the floor, such as on the couch or on a play table. This encourages baby to look up, lift their head, and push up onto their hands and knees to locate their toy. This action helps them prepare to eventually move towards the toy.
Encourage Crawling to Their Favorite Toy
Use a toy that moves, like a toy car or a toy that has wheels, and place it slightly out of baby’s reach to encourage them to move towards it. As they get closer to the toy move it slightly farther away until they have crawled or crept towards it a few times. Reward them for their efforts by letting them play with the toy!
Typically developing babies will begin crawling and creeping patterns between 7 and 9 months old. If you feel your child is not meeting this milestone contact your healthcare provider. Learn more about motor milestones here.