When your child begins to crawl, it can be the most rewarding, exciting moments in their early lives. After the baby first learns to sit up, the next stage of development is crawling. Soon after they learn to crawl, the child will start to figure out how to stand up and attempt to walk. This is the baby’s first foray into true independence and easy of movement.
As the baby learns to crawl, they will start by figurings out how to balance their body on their knees and hands. Before long, they will start to discover that they can use their knees to propel their body forward. Crawling is an extremely important skill because it helps the baby builds the muscles that he or she will need one day to attempt walking. While every baby is different and physical development can range drastically, there is a common time when babies will first attempt to fall.
When Do Babies Start Crawling?
The average baby will begin to crawl at about 7 months old. In some cases, the baby may not learn how to crawl until they reach 10 months old. In the interim, they may learn how to move their body through movements like scooting, rolling or slithering. If your child is not crawling at 7 months old, do not panic. At this age, development rates vary drastically. Your child may not crawl until months later, but they will most likely catch up on development before they start school. It is normal for parents to panic and think that their child is falling behind, so do not make this mistake. Every child is different, so there is no “right” or “wrong” for their development. As long as they are well-cared for and healthy, they will crawl when they are ready.
Likewise, there is no reason to worry about how the baby crawls or their style of movement. The baby has an immense feat ahead of them: over the next few years, they will learn to talk, walk, crawl and run. All of these movements require an amazing physicality and mental abilities when you really think about it. As the only bi-ped on earth, humans are an exception to the animal kingdom for their ability to walk on two legs. Any movement at this stage is a good sign that your child is headed in the right direction. Plus, it is always possible that your child is one of the few babies that skip crawling altogether and jump straight into the walking stage of development.
Should I Be Concerned If My Baby Is Not Crawling?
You bought the right toys, you offer words of encouragement, and your child is still not crawling. Should you be worried? Most doctors and child development specialists say, “probably not.” While there are conditions that could make it hard to crawl, there is no reason to be worried yet. The baby’s body knows its limits and can figure out if it is able to crawl or not. Often, it is only a matter of time until the baby begins to crawl.
Keep in mind that premature babies are less likely to crawl early. If your baby was born premature, it may take an extra couple of months. If your child is not crawling by the time he or she reaches 12 months old, then it is time to talk to your doctor to see if there is a problem. Otherwise, relax and let the baby figure everything out.
How Babies Learn to Crawl
Crawling is merely another step in the development process. The baby learned to lift its head, lift its upper body and wave its arms. Throughout all of these stages, the child’s muscles continued to grow and prepare for a future of crawling. To find out how babies learn to crawl, read through the following developmental chart.
The Timeline of Crawling
Six to Seven Months Old
At this stage in development, the baby has to strengthen his stomach muscles before he can crawl. Right now, he is working to pull himself up on his forearms and lift himself enough to see around. These miniature push-ups are going to help him develop the muscles he needs to walk and crawl.
8 to 10 Months Old
Around this time, the baby will finally start to have the muscles necessary to squat and support his weight. He will discover that crawling around on all fours is much easier than trying to roll or pull himself up. The baby will begin to realize that it is fairly simple to gain mobility as he pushes with his knees and speeds around the house. Around this time, the baby will begin to crawl backwards as well.
12 Months Old
By this time, your baby is an expert at crawling. He may try to climb stairs, and it is around now that he may attempt his first tentative steps.
Can I Help My Baby Learn to Crawl?
If you want to help your baby learn how to crawl, there are ways that you can encourage him. Child development specialists say that babies who lie on their stomach are more likely to crawl earlier than other children.
Get Out the Toys
Your baby may not like lying on their stomach, but putting toys in front of him will make it a bit more enjoyable. If you put the toys just out of reach and call for him to get it, he may realize that he needs to crawl if he wants to reach the toy.
Put Him on His Stomach
Being on the stomach is the best way to get into the crawling position. Even before crawling is possible, lying on the stomach will help the baby strengthen their stomach, legs and arms. Once the child reaches three months old, you can begin to devote a part of the day toward tummy time.
Get Him to Crawl Constantly
Once your baby begins to crawl, encourage them to continue crawling as much as possible. Crawling will help him to gain the muscle he needs to walk later on. Plus, it is an excellent way for the baby to begin exercising every day.
Put Up Obstacles
To make crawling a little more fun, set up obstacles like pillows in the baby’s way. He or she will have to navigate around the obstacle course to get anywhere. Make sure you keep an eye on your baby though, so the baby does not get into any trouble.
While the baby’s growing mobility is a source of pride, it is also a source of fear for many parents. Once the baby can crawl or walk, they can start to get into trouble. To keep your baby safe, use the following precautions in advance.
- Do not let your baby crawl up or down stairs.
- Use stair gates and other protective measures to keep your baby out of harm’s way.
- Make sure the floor he will crawl on is clean and free of anything that he can put in his mouth.
- Have your baby go barefoot so that his legs and the arches in his feet grow stronger. This will also help with balancing.