When your little one is able to manipulate objects, utensils, or any kind of tools to complete any task successfully, he’s demonstrating his abilities of hand control as well as finger strength. Dramatic accomplishments like learning how to crawl, stand, or walk are easy to see during his first years. Even so, during these months the tiny muscles in his hands and fingers are also providing him with the base for cognitive, social, and emotional development.
Your little one gradually learns how to go from grabbing a rattle with his whole fist, to picking up small objects, using a handle to open a drawer and manipulating toys that move. All these simple actions depend on underlining abilities such as finger strength, finger positioning, and finger isolation. The friction that is created by grabbing an object and simultaneously increasing the force on his grip to prevent the object from dropping are things required in order for your child to perform everyday tasks successfully.
Previously we said that, since your baby’s born, she begins developing hand and finger strength, control, and coordination with even the smallest things. We’ve also talked about how she works to develop her pincer grasp. Since our hands are necessary for almost everything we do, it is very important to help your little one develop these skills every chance you get. Even though your little one is too young to know how to hold a pencil in a writing position, color with controlled strokes, or manipulate playdough, she can begin building the underlining abilities that will help her manipulate objects and begin making controlled movements with her fingers.
We’ve previously discussed that since your baby is now on the move, making your home a safe space is very important. Check part 1 of this article if you’ve missed it!
Check your home for furniture pieces with hard edges and sharp corners. Coffee tables are a particular hazard so, if possible, move this furniture out of reach. Since your little one will want to explore every part of the house and still doesn’t understand the concept of safety, you might consider buying some cornered guards or smooth edge protectors to stick onto the furniture, this way you can prevent bumps or bruises. Electrical outlets are something children get curious about, so use sliding panels or safety plugs that are not a choking hazard to prevent your son from sticking his finger or toy in there. Keep computers out of reach to prevent him from pulling it over himself and put away or hide all electrical cords.
Now that your baby is on the move, he’ll need constant care and supervision. Even though he’s now moving on his own and you’ll be there with him at all times, your baby doesn’t know the rules about what to touch or not touch, so accidents are prompt to happen. During these months it is very important to make your home a safe space for your crawler.
Soon after he masters crawling, your baby will begin pulling himself up as he prepares to walk. So, take a crawling tour around the house yourself and check on anything you could pull and grab onto. Test the stability of large pieces of furniture, such as floor lamps, bookshelves, and television stands. Put floor lamps behind other furniture and anchor bookcases and TV stands to the wall. Check that all furniture is sturdy and secured to the to the wall. Cabinets, drawers, and cubbies should be closed since kids like to climb on them. Your baby will probably empty racks of movies, CDs, albums, or anything that’s reachable, so be sure there’s nothing that can harm him. Toilets are now within his reach and if he wanders into a bathroom, he’ll probably pull himself up by grabbing onto it. So, consider having childproof handle locks on all your bathrooms and non-slip mats in bathtubs.
We’ve previously discussed that crawling develops during a wide window of months and that your baby has a variety of styles he can adapt to. Keep in mind that your little one is not programmed to crawl. He’s mostly motivated to explore the world, experiment with different ways of moving, and will settle on the one that he feels is most rewarding. So, while it might not look like a classic crawl, remember that sliding on the tummy, rolling, and bottom shuffling are still valid methods for moving around. The important part is that he coordinates both sides of his body and uses each arm and leg equally. Even though most babies crawl, there’s a few that skip crawling altogether. If your baby is one of those cases, what can you do to still stimulate the variety of muscles and skills crawling requires?
We previously talked about preparing your little one for crawling, and the many skills it involves. For most babies crawling occurs at around 8-10 months. The reason the window for crawling can start at around 6 months is because your baby is working on rolling, sitting, and shuffling so she might start moving to get around before the 8th month. In these early months, some signs you can look for are little pushups while your baby is on her tummy in which she might lift her head and chest using her arms as support. As she gets stronger, she’ll start experimenting and try to move with her forearms; this is why tummy time is so important during this period.
There are also some late crawlers, and the only reason they’re called that is because most babies start grabbing on furniture and standing up to cruise at around 10-11 months. The truth is that it’s not important when your little one crawls or if she crawls at all; this action will happen when your little one is ready, and her style of crawling might not be what you have in mind. The important part is that she’s mobile and improves her motor development, which includes many other milestones.
Crawling is an important part in your baby’s development. He’s now getting mobile, so prepare to be chasing him around from room to room. In this article we’ll talk about the different skills that crawling helps develop.
Balance: Balance is an essential skill your little one will always need. Walking, running, jumping, kicking a ball, writing, and coloring require balance. As your baby achieves this, he’ll learn how to distribute his weight and move from side to side. Research at San Francisco State University found that babies who engage in tummy crawling (also referred as prone locomotion) learn faster how to control tasks that require a right posture and balance skills; this learning occurs through visual stimulation.
It might seem like your little one will never become mobile or that his future milestones are still far away! Don’t worry, your son will be climbing furniture and toddling around the house in no time. Since crawling will come naturally for your little one, supporting this skill is less on the side of teaching him how to do it and more on the side of providing opportunities for him to get ready and practice.
Remember that the process of learning how to crawl differs among babies, as they work out the most comfortable way to move. That being said, here are some things you can do to support your little one: Continue reading →
As your baby begins taking her first steps, you’ll find it’s almost impossible to avoid bumps and bruises. Her steps will be shaky, but with practice she’ll begin finding the balance and strength she needs to move from the wobbly steps to being quite a confident walker.
During this time, you might hear a baby walker can help her learn and prevent stumbles and falls. This is not true. Contrary to what the name suggests, the baby walker does not help your baby learn the process of walking. In fact, it eliminates the desire of walking altogether. Why?
The baby walker will take away important floor time your child needs to strengthen her muscles, work on her coordination skills, as well as developing pelvis and shoulder weight bearing while being on a crawling position.
Using a baby walker allows babies to move before their body is ready for it, causing delayed muscle control, unusual patterns, and difficulty in the perception of an object’s distance.
When using a baby walker, babies tend to use their toes to move, this causes tightness in their legs and interferes with the developmental process of walking.
Baby walkers skip the important milestone of how babies learn to pull themselves up. This prevents them from fostering the balance they need for developing proper walking skills and future running skills.
We’ve previously discussed how crawling can occur between the 6- to 10-month mark. We’ve also talked about the different styles of crawling and how your little one can adopt other kinds of movements, like rolling or shuffling to get around. During this learning process, you might see your baby go backwards first before getting the hang of crawling forward. Why?
As your baby explores the world, he uses his arms and upper body as a first approach when playing or exploring something. During tummy time he uses his arms to lift himself up and support his neck; this is very important to get him ready to crawl. By doing so, he’ll develop the strength needed to get into a crawling position, and his upper body muscles will develop faster than the lower ones. That’s why, as he explores, he might find it easier to push instead of pull, when he attempts to move.