Babies begin their lives without much coordination and with little muscle management skills. But it doesn’t take long until they get moving — and you have to chase them. One of their big leaps from a sedentary lifestyle to little movers is crawling.
Most babies begin working on crawling between six and ten months. And, just like their personalities, they all have their own style. Little ones may rock back and forth on all fours for a while or they may take off like tiny racers. Some start in reverse and some use a crab walk. No matter their crawl style, there are several things you can do to help them reach this mini milestone.
Tummy Time Is Key
Be sure to give your baby the chance to lay and play on their bellies from birth. Spending time on their tummy lets each baby develop neck, shoulder, arm, back and stomach muscles. And those muscles help them crawl.
Let Your Baby Move Freely
Wide open spaces help your baby learn crawl is to provide lots of opportunities to move their little body. Time spent in open, safe spaces (baby proofing is essential) allows your child to experiment with arm and leg control. On the other hand, you want to use baby seats, carriers and walkers less often.
Tiny Nudges to Tiny Feet
If your baby seems to be ready to crawl, but just has a little trouble getting started, place your hands behind their feet. The chance to “push off” of your support can sometimes help little ones get the traction they need to move.
Little Moves Take Little Challenges
A secret to getting a nearly-there crawler to try to crawl is putting a favorite toy just-out-of-reach. Put that treasured stuffed animal or ball nearby and cheer on your little one to move right on over. “Hey sweetie, do you want to the ball? Come on over!” Remember, though, if your baby has trouble, keeping things calm and positive will make the experience better for both of you!
Crawling is just one of many, many milestones your child will achieve. Like all major and minor achievements, each child grows and learns at a different pace. Remember that a baby’s size, interests, natural inclinations and environment can all impact what skill comes when. If you have concerns, contact your pediatrician or check in with our developmental milestones guide and be in touch with your health provider with any questions.
Cover image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones, Creative Commons license.
Kirsten Eamon-Shine directs Early Learning Indiana’s communications efforts, including the Brighter Futures Indiana website. She loves telling stories that help adults nurture the curiosity and potential of children. She spent over a decade in the youth development field at IUPUI, the Marion County Commission on Youth and Peace Learning Center, and has diverse experience as a digital communications manager and strategist with community-focused organizations and businesses. Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Indiana University. She spends her free time reading children’s and grown-ups’ books, enjoying Indianapolis’ cultural and food scenes, and listening to music with her husband and son Emerson, who is somehow old enough to be in kindergarten.