Many parents anticipate the day when their baby starts crawling. Early crawling is a much anticipated first-year milestone and is a marker some parents use to determine whether their child is meeting developmental milestones.
Allison Tsomos, Vice President of Operations at Celebree School, shares her expertise on what parents can expect when it comes to babies crawling.
Baby Crawling Means Time for a Safety Check!
Crawling is a huge baby milestone that is both exciting and changes life as you know it.
Once babies start developing the skills and strength that they need to crawl, it's time to make sure your home is sufficiently baby-proofed! Parents who have already had an infant know crawling means major exploration is about to happen, and home safety efforts need to be double-checked. When you notice your child engaging in pre-crawling, check to make sure outlets are covered and nothing that could be a choking hazard is within reach of a crawling baby. You may not realize how many small objects you have around your house until your baby starts crawling.
Once your baby moves, it may be too late to start the babyproofing process!
When Is Crawling Expected Developmentally?
At about four months old, babies begin to rock on their belly and move their arms, almost like swimming on land. They are developing coordination through this. A lot is going on in the brain at this age, and crawling requires sending messages from the brain to the limbs to move effectively. More tummy time may help develop this skill more quickly.
Over the next two months, various degrees of movement will happen. Many babies in this age range figure out how to move themselves backward before forwards. This looks funny but is completely normal developmentally.
Some infants rise up on their elbows and army crawl in this stage. Even though these babies are keeping their knees on the ground, it still counts as crawling, even if it's not the most efficient approach. All this effort is strengthening the muscles of the arms and legs and deepening the connection of the brain to body movements.
By about 9 months, children are typically crawling on their hands and knees.
How Can I Motivate Baby to Start Crawling?
If your baby needs a little motivation to get crawling, place a favorite toy just 6 inches out of reach. It may seem cruel, but you can keep moving the toy just a little farther away to keep your baby crawling.
Another fun idea is to create a baby obstacle course with a favorite, age-appropriate toy at the end.
Some babies respond well to good, old-fashioned clapping and praise. If your child is making good progress towards crawling, be sure to recognize their hard work. Reward them with a favorite game like pat-a-cake or peek-a-boo after a hard crawling workout.
Sometimes just placing your baby on the floor on their tummy or hands and knees is all it takes to get the baby moving!
What if My Child Isn’t Crawling?
If your child isn't making any progress towards crawling, don't worry!
New parents are often surprised to learn that development in babies has a wide range of normal. The same applies to little ones learning to crawl and move around.
Some babies are slower to crawl. If that's the case for your little one, rest assured that it is okay for them to follow their own timeline.
Some children even skip the crawling stage altogether. It's perfectly fine if your child decides they are not going to crawl at all. Some babies crawl, while some go right from pulling up to cruising to walking and never crawl at all. Yet other children learn other skills and scoot on their bottoms instead. Your child had their own personality from birth. One of the ways their personality may first come through is by how they decide to move.
Is My Baby on Track?
Baby development happens in different ways and at different rates. If you have any concerns about crawling, milestones, motor skills, or any other aspect of child development, ask your pediatrician.
Once your baby becomes adept at crawling, it's time to get ready for the next phase – walking! Baby walkers change life again, so get ready.