The Importance of Crawling For Babies Development

Crawling is an important developmental step that you need to focus on! 

You can do many things to encourage your baby and make it fun for both of you before they take their first steps.

Most babies begin crawling between 7 and 10 months old, but sometimes it can take longer.

Babies are NOT the same… 

One of the best things to do to help your baby crawl is to lie him on his stomach while keeping your eye on him all the time. 

Read this article to know more about:

  • The Importance of Crawling on Brain Development 
  • Types of Baby Crawling
  • How To Make a Baby Crawling
  • ..and a lot More!

Most babies can be put on their tummy for short periods starting at one month of age. 

Let’s get started…

Related: Baby Basic Stages of Development

Tummy time helps build the abdominal, back, and neck muscles the baby needs to crawl. 

At first, many babies don’t like being on their tummy very much, so try short sessions of one to two minutes on a hard, smooth surface first. 

When your baby is lying on his stomach, looking up, and trying to reach for a toy or mum or daddy’s face, he does some exercise that makes him stronger and ends up helping him crawl.

Once your baby begins to crawl, every movement counts towards his development.

Always remember: Each Kid develops at their own pace!

Enjoy watching your baby embark on new adventures, and be sure to take plenty of photos.

The Importance of Crawling on Brain Development 

a mother watching her baby boy crawling in the street-side

Crawling allows your baby to experience different new things by discovering the world around him. Besides, it develops and strengthens many other areas – like his muscles!

That’s said, we recommend you keep an eye on your baby after he turns 6 months old and starts encouraging him to creep or crawl. 

If he turns 9 months old without trying to crawl, it is time for a pediatrician visit. 

In case you don’t know..

Through crawling, your baby will bear weight through his hands to strengthen his shoulders and make them stable. 

This is essential to make him able to control his hands and use them for other basic skills, like eating alone, playing, coloring, getting dressed alone, and writing (later on). 

The importance of crawling relies on the idea that when your baby starts to crawl, he also begins to move independently – without your help. 

It is essential to develop their balance system, cognitive ability, sensory system, coordination skills, and problem solving ability.

Here is why the vitally important crawling stage is essential for the baby’s overall development:

  • Moving alone encourages him to explore everything independently.
  • Crawling around helps to establish body awareness, so they can navigate the place and proceed accordingly. 
  • Problem-solving skills develop through moving things around while crawling.
  • Crawling develops their responsibility towards their movements.
  • It improves body parts coordination skills and visual systems, like hand eye coordination.
  • It extends the left-right eyes movements.
  • Crawling over various textures enhances their sensory systems. 

All these skills are essential for the baby’s self confidence, future development, and later skills acquisition!

You may wonder if skipping crawling is ok? Or what happens if my baby walks before crawling?

This is normal, and there is nothing serious to be concerned about. As babies who don’t crawl walk faster than those who crawl for a couple of months. 

All you need to do is to encourage them for the next step; crawling or walking. 

Each child develops differently! 

You may want to introduce stand to walk toys in such scenarios.

Child’s Development: Fine motor skills Vs. Gross motor skills

baby girl crawling next to her dog

Babies’ motor skills are divided into two primary skills: Fine and Gross motor skills. 

Gross motor skills are the ones that your baby does through moving large muscles, such as crawling, running, and jumping. 

Fine motor skills are the ones that need using small muscles, such as finger joint movements.

Crawling helps develop both types of motor skills through large and refined movements. Meaning that hands and knees crawling helps improve the infant motor development.

Types of Baby Crawling

baby crawling towards his toys

There are different crawling styles that babies do. Here are the baby crawl styles:

  • Cross crawl using hands and knees: With this style, babies put weight on their hands and knees and crawl by moving one hand with the opposite knee forward simultaneously.
  • Bear crawl: This is so close to the traditional crawling style where babies keep their knees and elbows straight and walk like a bear using their hands and feet. 
  • Belly crawl: This is also called a military crawl style, where babies tend to crawl using arms only – without their feet – while their tummy is touching the floor. 
  • Bottom Scooter: This is where babies use their arms to move forward while scooting around on their bottom.
  • Crab Crawl: Like how the crab moves, babies in this crawling style move sideways or backward while propelling themselves using their hands. 
  • Rolling crawl: As the name suggests, babies here roll from one place to another. 

Parents must know that tummy time is the foundation of babies’ crawling skills, which is essential for the child’s development.  

How To Make a Baby Crawling

baby girl is trying to crawl

There are many fun games you can play to help your baby develop. This way, he will feel all the more confident on all fours, and you can also have fun watching him moving around.. 

Tummy Time:

Putting your baby on his stomach is highly recommended to help in developing his head and neck muscles. 

Once your baby is around 6 months old, starting tummy time is a great exercise to get him moving around and crawling!

But always ensure that the place where he plays is safe and clean.

The best way to do tummy time is to place some toys to grab his attention to be encouraged to move towards these toys and play with them.

Picking the right timing is the key!

Usually, babies like to play after taking their nap time or right when they wake up. So, try to avoid doing tummy time when he feels sleepy or tired. 

Encourage Crawling By Using Toys:

First of all, pick the toys adequately based on his age to keep him safe and happy while in his tummy. 

Place them around your baby and within his reach; in this way, he will be able to catch them comfortably without feeling pissed off for not getting them. 

Make sure to use different kinds of toys and place them in different places to challenge him day by day. 

But always remember to keep it enjoyable… 

Using a Tunnel Is a Good Idea:

Tunnels are fun for kids.. 

You can make your own tunnel by placing pillows or cushions in a certain way or buying a ready one. 

baby girl crawling into a tunnel

The game starts by putting your baby on his tummy and a toy inside the tunnel. If your baby doesn’t reach for toys, try to push him towards it gently. 

Turn and Twist Your Kid:

Twisting your Kid from the center helps in developing his balance and strengthening his muscles. 

When your baby is sitting down, try to twist and turn him 360 degrees! But make sure there is nothing next to him to keep the game safe. 

Create a Safe Crawling Area:

The best thing to do when you have a crawler is to make the house a safe place for him to enjoy every single move he does. 

Some parents prefer to make a specific area for their babies to crawl and move in while keeping the rest of the house as it is. 

However, these little crawlers will soon be walkers and get to discover everything around them…

So, I think you got the idea! 

It is beneficial to give your baby the room to move freely wherever he wants and offer as much floor time as possible, and don’t forget to keep the floor clean. These little movers tend to crawl whatever comes in their way! 

Use Bouncers and Swings:

Babies can start using the bouncing and swinging seats at six months of age.

These seats are effective in stimulating crawling movement and encouraging babies to move further..

You can even do some soft bouncing and swinging during tummy time!

baby in a bouncer

Try Belly Bait Activities:

Belly bait activities help babies learn crawling. These activities are usually super easy to do by parents. 

For example, you can lay your baby on his back, hold his hands gently, and bring him forward slowly until he is upon his belly. 

Try to repeat belly bait activities around 10 times a day

To keep your baby excited to move, it would be helpful to introduce new toys every once in a while to encourage belly crawling.

Let Your Baby Crawl Outside The House: 

If there is a park or playground near you, we highly encourage you to give your baby the chance to crawl there… 

Babies are curious and love to discover new things, places, and surfaces. 

By letting your baby crawl outside, you give him the chance to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

Don’t forget the stairs – even the smallest ones! Getting up and down the stairs is what most babies enjoy, and it helps them begin crawling. 

Signs That Your Baby Is a Crawler

baby crawling on the grass

Babies can move their body parts around the age of 6-9 months like a crawling motion. 

You may also notice that your baby is trying to pull up on the furniture or rock back and forth on his knees.

All these movements are signs that your baby is ready to crawl.

Take a look at the common signs for a crawling baby: 

Your Baby Likes To Spend Much Time On The Floor

If your baby is enjoying his time on the floor more than in the bouncer or swing, he might be getting ready to crawl. 

Your Child Rocks Back and Forth While Sitting

Rocking back and forth while sitting has different indications; one of them is that your baby is trying to strengthen his arms and legs to crawl around officially. 

baby boy sitting by himself

Your Kid is pulling himself using his arms

When your baby is doing the army crawl – using arms to crawl – means that he is officially doing the first step towards being a crawler. 

Crawling requires coordination between the arms and legs, and some babies move the upper part before the lower one – which is perfectly fine!

Your Baby Shows Interest In The Faraway Objects

You may notice that your baby is looking and staring at the faraway objects instead of the ones near him. 

In such scenarios, we recommend you place some toys in a specific place that is a few feet away from your baby. 

You will watch him moving towards them slowly..

Pushing Up Is Your Baby’s New Exercise

Again, tummy time is an excellent exercise to strengthen your baby’s muscles. Now, while laying on his stomach, you may see him trying to push up without your help. 

Here, your Kid is starting the first step of crawling.  

Sitting Up On Their Own 

Is your baby trying to sit up without your support? If yes, then he is a few steps away from being officially a crawler. 

Sitting up means that your baby’s core muscles are getting stronger, developing, and preparing for the next step…

These muscles are the basics for proper balance and coordination skills. 

What To Avoid While Your Baby Is Crawling

a Baby crawling in his tummy

There are many things that we recommend you avoid using for your baby if he is trying to crawl or officially crawling; here are some of them:

Baby Walkers: 

Using a walker for a crawling baby will lessen the time spent on the floor and hold on to the development of his muscles. 

Baby Seats or Carriers: 

If you choose to put your little crawler in his seat or carrier while going out, try to avoid doing so for a long time. If babies have plenty of time to practice crawling, they will crawl, try to stand, and walk while playing, moving, and exploring the surroundings.

Forcing your Kid To Crawl:

Don’t push your baby and force him to crawl. His muscles may not be developed enough to start crawling. Instead, doing so will slow the crawling learning process.

Related: 8 Best Sensory Toys For Babies

When Should I Start Worrying and Ask For Help?

parents looking for their crawling baby

Before you start worrying and looking for help, it is good to know the babies crawl from 5 – 13 months old. However, 50% of them crawl at the age of 8 months. Some may even skip the whole crawling period and start walking, which is around 7% of kids who do so.

Besides, premature and heavy babies may take longer to learn crawling. Big kids may not be comfortable crawling on their hands and knees. 

So far, there is nothing to worry about here. Slow crawlers may get busy developing other skills, like using their hands to figure things out or sitting down exploring the surroundings. 

Then again, always remember that babies develop differently!

Here are the scenarios where you need to seek help:

  • If your baby is using only one side while crawling, like using the same hand to grab objects or dragging only one side of his body.
  • If your baby is not showing any progress in moving around with his body. 

How To Make Your House Child-proofed

baby crawling

Once your baby is trying to crawl, you should make your house safe for him to move around without injuring himself. 

Crawling will then be developed into walking, jumping, and running…

And most importantly, you need to know that babies at the age of months will not follow your rules! 

Don’t get upset if you see all the drawers and doors opened!

All you need to do during this early age is to keep the house safe, and here is how to do it:

  • Secure the electrical outlets and cords.
  • Use stairs gates. 
  • Lock the drawers, doors, and closets. 
  • Try to cover the sharp corners – like those in tables. 
  • Place all dangerous cleaning supplies away from reach.
  • If possible, limit the number of accessories, such as planets, tables, unnecessary chairs, and rugs.
  • Proof the windows and faucets. 

Securing your house means keeping your baby safe and ready to move around independently without any restrictions. 

Doing so helps him crawl freely to support healthy development. 

Related: Top 7 Baby Gates To Keep Your Baby Safe At Home

Frequently Asked Questions

baby crawling in his first birthday party

Q1: When should a baby start crawling?

Usually, babies start to show some signs of crawling at the age of 6 months. Some babies begin to rock back and forth on knees and hands, which strengthens their muscles to crawl. While swinging, babies start to crawl backward, and then they move to the forward crawling. Once they turn nine months old, babies crawl and creep efficiently. 

Q2: How to teach a baby to crawl?

  • Do tummy time
  • Encourage Crawling By Using Toys
  • Using a Tunnel Is a Good Idea
  • Turn and Twist Your Kid
  • Create a Safe Crawling Area
  • Use Bouncers and Swings
  • Try Belly Bait Activities
  • Let Your Baby Crawl Outside The House

Q3: When can a baby roll onto the side?

Babies slightly roll from their back to their sides at the age of 3-4 months. But they start to roll over from their tummy to their back at the age of 4-5 months. 

Q4: When do babies become interested in toys?

You may notice that some newborn babies get attracted by age-appropriate toys; however, babies usually start to independently play with toys at around the age of 4-5 months.

The Takeaway

When you get a baby, you keep waiting day by day to see your baby’s subsequent progress, especially when you watch other kids at the same age doing things that he may or may not be doing. 

But babies develop based on their particular time frame, which is different from one baby to another!

Always try to do what you are supposed to do and be positive. 

Crawling is just a skill like any other one! It may take longer (than usual) time to be thoroughly developed.. 

If you are worried, don’t hesitate to ask for help and visit his doctor.

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