When do babies crawl?  Continue reading to find out along with ways you can help your baby learn to crawl and support their development.

As a parent, you want to see your baby reach its developmental milestones.  Babies have a natural desire to explore the world around them, and one of the ways they begin to do this is through crawling.  Typically, babies learn to crawl, then stand, and eventually learn to walk.  But just when do babies crawl?  Are there ways you can help your baby learn to crawl?  What if your baby isn’t crawling yet? Is that okay?  Let’s take a closer look at crawling.

When do babies crawl?

Babies typically learn to crawl between 8-10 months. Some crawl as early as six months, while others seem to skip crawling altogether and start walking at nine months. There is a wide range of development, and rest assured all of them are normal.

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To crawl, your baby first has to develop head and neck control, which usually happens around four months of age. To help this development, you can make sure your baby has lots of tummy time. By spending time on their tummies, babies learn to lift their heads to look around, which helps develop their neck muscles.

Once your baby can hold her head up, you might find them pushing themselves up with their arms or onto all fours. Usually, around the eighth month, your baby will begin to shuffle, squirm, and start experimenting with her forearms.

Remember that some babies never master traditional crawling. Some learn to army crawl, some scooch around the floor on their bum, and some skip right to pulling themselves up on furniture and standing. Whether or not your little one learns to crawl is not an indicator of her development.  What’s important is that your baby starts to become mobile and improves her motor skills.

How to help your baby start crawling

There are a few things you can do to support your baby crawling. Crawling itself will come naturally, but there are ways you can support their development in the meantime:

Tummy time

Giving your baby tummy time from the day they’re born helps with muscle development.  Practicing moving around on their tummy gives them strong neck, shoulder, arm, leg, and back muscles that will help them to crawl when they’re ready.

Sometimes tummy time makes babies fussy, but that doesn’t mean you should stop doing it.  Laying them on your chest where they can see your face sometimes helps, and it’s okay to give your baby tummy time breaks as well.

Encourage your baby to reach for her toys

While this seems simple, it’s an important developmental step to encourage your baby to crawl. When you put a toy just out of reach of your baby, your baby learns that she must lean away from her reaching arm to get it.  By creating a reaching and a supporting arm, your baby has just learned how to shift her body weight from one side to another, an essential skill for crawling.

Minimize the amount of time your baby spends in a bouncy chair or carrier

There are times when using a carrier, or bouncy chair is an absolute must to keep your little one safe, but don’t become too reliant on it. Spending supervised playtime on the floor will encourage your baby to get moving and exploring her environment.

Sitting helps your baby crawling

When babies learn to sit and roll over, they also learn to push forward and change position.  When babies first start sitting, they learn to tripod, which is putting their arms down in front of them while sitting on their bum.  Most babies will rock back and forth in this position which strengthens their back for crawling.

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Sitting your baby in front of a mirror can encourage her to start pushing forward out of a sitting position.

Use your stairs

If you have a staircase in your home, your baby is probably excited to explore it. Stairs should be off-limits when the baby is unsupervised, but they encourage them to crawl up safely while you’re there. 

Different types of crawling

As stated earlier, all babies develop differently, and there is no right way for your baby to crawl. What’s important is that they develop the appropriate gross motor skills to move around.  While we think of a baby crawling as them moving on their hands and knees, there are many other ways to do it:

  • Classic crawling is the traditional baby crawling on her hands and knees, where one arm moves forward with the opposite knee.
  • Bear crawling – similar to the classic crawl, but with the baby “crawling” on her hands and feet instead of hands and knees.
  • Belly crawl or army crawl – Your baby moves forward using her arms, but her belly doesn’t leave the floor.
  • Bottom scooching – Some babies learn to move around on their bum while using their arms to propel forward.
  • Crab crawl – Your baby moves backward or sideways.  This is often a phase that progresses into forwarding crawling.
  • Rolling crawl – Your baby rolls from one destination to another.  While it’s not technically crawling, some babies use this motion method until they learn to stand up and walk.

If your baby has developed a form of motion that’s different from classic crawling, rest assured that it’s normal. Once your baby determines an efficient method of moving around, she’s unlikely to change it until she learns to walk, especially if it’s an efficient way of getting around. As long as your baby is happy and active, there is nothing to be concerned about.

My baby isn’t crawling – is something wrong?

About 10% of babies will never learn to crawl but go directly from sitting up to walking.  Crawling is not considered a developmental milestone, and the fact that they aren’t crawling is no reason for concern, as long as she is reaching other developmental milestones like sitting, standing, and walking. 

Final thoughts on baby crawling

Whether your baby is already crawling or hasn’t started yet, you can support your baby’s growth and development from the day they are born.  One way or another, your baby will learn to move around and explore their world, whether it’s through a form of crawling, scooching, or walking.

Now that you know when babies crawl, download the Kinedu app for free to follow your baby’s milestones and progress. With the app you will get access to 1,800+ activities created by experts to aid you in supporting your baby’s development!