The traditional hands-and-knees or cross crawl is full of benefits. Not only is it your baby’s first official means of mobility and independence, it is also an important part of your baby’s physical, cognitive and social-emotional development! If you’d like to learn some of the many benefits, continue reading.
- Gross motor skills derived from whole body movements
- Fine motor skills developed thanks to the strengthening of hands and fingers
- Balance and lower body stability
- Strengthening of shoulder and hip muscles
- Upper and lower body weight shifting necessary for when baby starts to walk
- Control over body
- Bilateral coordination of both brain hemispheres and integration of both sides of the body
- Complex arms and legs movements working in opposition set up a template in the brain for future learning
- Desire to explore, opening a new perspective of the world
- Spatial awareness
- Problem resolution and cognitive flexibility (if your baby encounters an obstacle she must decide what to do to overcome it)
- Motor planning derived from trial and error
- Hand-eye coordination
- Visual acuity, coordination of both eyes, depth perception, and binocular focus
- Pillar for the development of future skills that allow socialization
- Self-confidence derived from taking risks
- Self-awareness of body
- Crawling on different terrains develops your baby’s immune system
If your baby has not learned to crawl yet, don’t worry. Babies crawl when they are ready, but you can try to encourage them. Clear the floor, make sure it is comfortable for tummy time and for your little one’s knees, place attractive toys out of reach so your little one must move to get them and, most importantly, have fun!
There are many different crawling styles, don’t worry if your baby does not crawl in the traditional way or skips crawling all together. A child’s brain is highly plastic, meaning it can easily adapt to its environment. So, even if your little one did not crawl in a typical way, she will still achieve all of her milestones.
For more information be sure to check out the following:
- Linking Bodies and Minds by Anne O’Connor and Anna Daly
- A Moving Child is a Learning Child by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy