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Many babies begin to crawl between the ages of 7-10 months. But what if your baby wants to bypass crawling and go straight to walking? Sounds great right? She’s more advanced…or is she? Let’s talk about the importance of crawling and why we do not want young children to skip this important developmental milestone.
Crawling is the only time in your life when you spend time mostly on your hands and knees, and crawling develops a multitude of different skills. While crawling, babies are exploring different textures and surfaces with both their hands and their knees. Babies are also using their eyes to look forward at the target they are crawling towards and then down again at the floor. They are strengthening their core muscles and upper and lower extremities. They are learning to use both sides of their bodies at the same time. All of these things help wire your baby’s brain for future skill development.
Some research has shown that crawling improved children’s memory retention, and allowed them to translate skills remembered from different activities. Additional research demonstrated that some children who crawl actually walk sooner than those who do not crawl. Also, some research has indicated some children who skipped crawling presented with sensory sensitivities or difficulty with writing skills later in life.
Some children do not crawl in the traditional manner, reciprocally on their hands and knees. You may see kids who bear crawl on hands and feet, or who crab scoot or do other atypical patterns of crawling. Atypical crawling styles aren’t always a cause for concern, but if your child is not crawling by about 10 months or crawls atypically or favors one leg/arm over the other while crawling you may wish to bring this up to your pediatrician or schedule an early intervention evaluation.
Our TEIS Therapists feel that these are the Top 10 Benefits of Crawling:
- Builds environmental curiosity and self-awareness
- Aids in memory retention
- Builds core strength
- Promotes shoulder stability
- Promotes hip alignment
- Promotes bilateral coordination
- Builds fine motor skills
- Builds visual motor skills
- Promotes posture and balance skills
- Aids in earlier walking skills
How can you encourage your child to crawl?
- Provide assistance by moving legs opposite of arms
- Place child tummy down over your thigh/lower leg and rock back and forth and side to side
- Place favorite toys just out of reach so they need to crawl towards them
- Place towel under tummy and lift tummy off floor to move from army/combat crawling to hands knees crawling
- Crawl over pillows and obstacles
- Crawl up steps or through tunnels
- Play in kneel (feet under bottom) or tall kneel at low table or over-turned box