It might seem like your little one will never become mobile or that their future milestones are still far away! Don’t worry, your baby 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 them how to do it and more on the side of providing opportunities for them 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:
- Give them tummy time from the moment they’re born. Practicing this helps your baby develop strong neck, shoulders, arms, and legs muscles and promotes their crawling abilities. Lying face down might make your little one fussy; it’s okay. Try taking breaks or laying them over your chest or belly and make funny faces to make spending time on their tummy more enjoyable. Tummy time also works best when your baby feels comfortable in the space, so try this in their room or a place that’s familiar to them.
- Encourage them to reach for toys. While it might seem a very simple thing, reaching is a very important part of crawling. While your baby reaches for a toy, they learn that in order to get it, they need to lean away from that arm. This creates a scenario in which they have a supporting arm and a reaching one. In this simple action, your baby is learning how to shift their body weight from side to side, an essential skill when crawling.
- Reduce the time they spend on their sitting chair, bouncer, or baby carrier. It’s nice to keep your little one safe, but spending time on the floor with you is what really builds those muscles and encourages them to explore the world through movement.
- Around the same time your child is learning to push themselves forward to crawl, they are also learning how to sit up. Make sure you make time for both sitting and rolling over, but also for pushing forward and changing positions. Tripod position is great to get them to build those back muscles, so try grabbing their attention with an attractive toy and moving it forward so that they have to change to all fours to reach it. Playing in front of a mirror can also get them curious to reach out of their sitting position and explore their reflection.
- As they become more agile, create miniature obstacle courses using pillows, boxes, and sofa cushions for them to crawl over and between. Remember to be by their side at all times since they might need your support for getting around an obstacle.
- Stairs are another obstacle course you can try, they’ll help your baby feel comfortable on all fours. If you have a staircase at home, they’ll probably be excited to explore it. Remember that, even though your little one needs to learn how to go up and down that stairs, you should not let theme play there unsupervised. So, while you are not there, make sure the staircase is off limits for them. If you don’t have a staircase, you can always practice using a step stool, foam blocks, cushions, or even rolled carpets.
Remember that there’s a wide window for your baby to learn how to crawl and that some babies skip crawling all together. Chances are you don’t need to worry. However, if you see your little one having trouble coordinating both sides of their body, it’s always best to consult with your pediatrician.
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