Crawling is highly encouraged from a developmental standpoint due to it relating to other areas of development. Such areas of development include, but are not not limited to:
- FINE MOTOR SKILLS: involve the strengthening of the smaller muscles of the body such as the hands and fingers but also the larger muscles of the chest and shoulders that provide stabilization for fine motor tasks. Fine motor tasks include grasping things, writing with a pen or pencil, fastening clothes and even moving the mouth and chewing.
- SPATIAL AWARENESS: a physical understanding and orientation of the physical world around child; their relationship with and position within it. This skill translates into later years as self-preservation, navigation and problem solving skills.
- BINOCULAR VISION: when crawling, which means they look forward to where they are going and then back down at their hands again; this skill later translates to a preschool readiness skill of looking up at the blackboard then back down at paper to write something.
- COORDINATION: left and right brain coordination is enhanced by crawling due to the brain being required to process hearing, sight and movement all at the same time. So the more a baby practices crawling, the more synchronized and developed each of these skills will become.
- PHYSICAL STRENGTH: the more a baby moves in their environment on all fours, the stronger they are becoming. This strength translates into a precursor for walking in a few month’s time. When the baby gains more confidence in their environment and starts to expand upon their environment by pulling up to stand, they begin developing lower back and leg muscles for walking.
Whether your child appears to want to move from independent sitting to walking, crawling is always encouraged to optimized developmental skills. Here are a few ways to help promote crawling with young babies:
- Tummy time during waking hours with plenty of floor space for baby to move around in. Limiting use of swings, walkers, exersaucers, etc.
- During tummy time place toys out of reach all around baby to encourage forward movements along with pivot to each side.
- Get down on floor with baby for play.
- Place your baby over your lower leg, a towel roll or a small play ball so that his hand and knees touch the floor and gently rock him back and forth while singing Row Your Boat.
- As baby gets more skilled and stronger, create “courses” through tunnels for baby to crawl through to make it fun and exciting.