You might find yourself on tenterhooks when it comes to wondering when your baby is going to start crawling. While that’s perfectly normal, it’s important to remember that there’s nothing wrong if your baby hasn’t started crawling as soon as your friend’s child did. In some cases, that delayed crawling might only mean that your child has delayed motor development. Moreover, it’s even normal for some babies to skip crawling altogether; instead, adopting other ways to move around their homes.
When do babies generally start crawling?
When do those baby crawling stages kick off, really? While there are certain studies that indicate that 50% of babies begin crawling by the age of 8 months, there are some that might start before 6 months and yet others not until after 11 months!
The truth of the matter is, babies are not inherently ‘programmed’ to crawl. They are, instead, motivated to experiment with different modes of movement, and find which one works best for them.
The Different Types of Baby Crawls
Let’s get right down to floor level, then, and see how babies navigate the world around them!
The Cross Crawl. This one’s the usual crawling style, where the baby rests its weight on its hands and knees, moving an arm and the knee opposite it simultaneously, in an attempt to move forward.
The Bear Crawl. This crawl is similar to a baby crawling on their hands and knees, but with a major difference. Baby holds their abdomen high and keeps their knees off the ground, balancing on their hands and feet.
The Crab Crawl. This one sees babies moving their body backwards or sideways in the crawling position, before launching their body forward with their hands.
The Step-Crawl Mix. This one’s a proverbial mash-up of the hands-and-knees crawl and bear crawl. Baby crawls on the knee of one leg, while stepping on the foot of the other.
The Commando Crawl. Time for some stealth movement? This one has a baby literally moving like a commando, their tummy touching the ground while they alternately move an opposite arm or leg.
Rolling. Well, not quite crawling, but it just about makes the cut! Why struggle to crawl, when you can roll instead?
Crawling Exercises for Babies
It’s important to give your baby that much-needed nudge, when it comes to helping get them started in the wonderful new world of crawling that awaits them. Exercises like the following can help do just that.
You stretch before exercising, right? Well, crawling is exercise for babies!
How: Have the baby lie on their back and put their legs in the air. Then, gently hold onto their feet, with their knees bent and legs open wide, to facilitate some wonderful stretching. Later, have them hold their feet and sway back and forth on their own.
Great for: Opening hip muscles and stimulating digestion.
Downward Facing Dog
This is actually the most simple pose, but you want to wait until at least 8 months when the baby has started crawling on their own.
How: What baby has to do here, is put both their hands on the floor and their butt in the air.
Great for: Flexibility, motor skills.
Twist and Turn
Crawling exercises for kids are great when they offer some lovely incentives!
How: Place some of the baby’s favorite toys on either side of them, so they have to twist and turn to reach them.
Great for: Helping baby transition from the sitting position to the hands-and-knees position.
Tips to assist your baby in Crawling
There are plenty of great ways to ensure that your child’s crawling experience goes off more smoothly. Here’s a look at the best ways you can help baby crawl.
Give them loads of tummy time. When babies play on their bellies, they are developing the strength in their shoulders, arms and trunk – the very strength needed for them to crawl.
Child-proof your home. First of all, you want the space your baby is crawling through, to be safe. Do a thorough recce of your home (this might include you crawling, too) in order to see that the place is child-proof and crawl-ready!
Place those toys just out of reach of the baby. This one’s taking the exercise outlined above, to a whole new level. After your child can twist and turn with ease, it’s time for them to make a more ambitious effort to reach for that toy.
Crawl with them. This is probably one of the most overlooked ways of teaching your baby to crawl. The thing is, children learn from what they see; so, getting down on all fours and crawling yourself, might not be such a bad idea after all.
Things to avoid when you’re teaching baby to crawl
Now that you’ve seen the things you can do to facilitate baby crawling, let’s take a look at the things it would be better to skip, when it comes to assisting in those precious baby crawling stages.
Baby Walkers. Not only are those baby walkers potentially dangerous, but they can hamper muscle development in infants, too. What’s more, they can eat away into that precious crawling time on the floor!
Too much time spent in baby seats and carriers. When you do this, what you are in effect doing is not allowing the baby enough time to play, move and explore the world around them. If you really want to help the baby crawl, you have to set them free!
Pushing your child to learn crawling. The last thing you want to do, really, in those fragile baby crawling stages, is to push them too hard to learn to crawl. If you do this, the only thing you will end up doing, is reversing any positives they might have already gleaned out of the crawling process.
Watching your baby learn to crawl can be both exciting and scary. While most children learn at their own rhythm and pace, you can give them that much-needed boost to help them explore the world around them, when crawling around. Visit EuroKids to learn more.