Updated: Nov 25
Helping your baby learn to crawl forward is an essential milestone in their development. But there are so many things your baby needs to learn before they are ready to crawl.
Image created with Dalle - E
At the time of writing this article my baby is still struggling so I did some digging. I've tried to cover everything there is on crawling so hopefully you'll find it useful as I did.
In this article:
What is the normal age for babies to crawl?
What makes babies crawl faster?
What are the first signs of crawling?
Before actual crawling begins, you may notice some early indicators that your little one is gearing up for this significant milestone.
One common sign is the "army crawl," where babies use their arms to drag themselves across the floor. They may also start rocking back and forth on their hands and knees, attempting to push forward. This is where my baby is currently at. I keep thinking there it is he will start moving, but noup.
As their muscles grow stronger, they might lift their bellies off the ground while on all fours. These early attempts at movement are an essential part of their crawling journey, signaling that your baby is getting ready to explore their world in a whole new way.
Encouragement and support during this phase can help build their confidence and set the stage for the exciting milestone of crawling forward.
What is the normal age for babies to crawl?
Crawling is a significant developmental milestone that typically occurs between 6 to 10 months of age. It is a crucial step in your baby's physical and cognitive growth, as it helps them build strength in their upper body, improve coordination, and explore their surroundings independently. Crawling also lays the foundation for further motor skills development and prepares them for standing and walking.
During the initial months, babies learn to lift their heads during tummy time, strengthening their neck, shoulder, and arm muscles.
As they grow older, they begin to push up with their arms, preparing for crawling.
Once they develop enough strength and confidence, they will start to coordinate their arm and leg movements to propel themselves forward.
Creating a Safe and Stimulating Environment
Before you start encouraging your baby to crawl, ensure you create a safe and stimulating environment for them. Prepare a baby-friendly space free from hazards where your little one can safely practice crawling. Remove sharp objects, secure furniture to prevent accidents, and consider using safety gates to block off hazardous areas.
To make the area more engaging, set up a baby-proofed play area with colorful toys, interactive play mats, and soft cushions.
Having a designated space for your baby to explore will provide them with the freedom to move around without worry.
What makes babies crawl faster?
Tummy time is a crucial building block for crawling and overall motor development. It helps strengthen your baby's neck, shoulder, and arm muscles, essential for lifting their head, pushing up, and eventually crawling forward.
To encourage tummy time, start from the early weeks of your baby's life.
Begin with short, frequent sessions and gradually increase the time as your baby becomes more comfortable. You can time it if it makes it easier for you.
Place your baby on their tummy on a firm, flat surface, such as a play mat or blanket, and get down on their eye level to interact and engage with them during tummy time.
Using colorful toys or mirrors can also capture their attention and make tummy time more enjoyable. I've placed the black and white Montessori cards in front of him and he did show some interests in it, but just for a short period of time. It helped when I would tell him what is on the cards, but that too didn't last long.
Keep in mind that some babies may initially resist tummy time, but with patience and consistency, they will become more accustomed to it and start building the necessary muscles for crawling. My baby was no fan of tummy time but he loved laying on my chest. So I figured that counts for something.
Encouraging Forward Movement: Fun Activities to Try
Once your baby has developed enough upper body strength and can push up during tummy time, it's time to encourage forward movement. Here are some fun activities to try:
Cheerleader Play: Sit a short distance away from your baby and call them with an enthusiastic voice. Encourage them to come to you by using positive reinforcement, clapping, or calling their name. This will motivate them to move forward and crawl to reach you.
Chase the Toy: Place a favorite toy just out of your baby's reach during tummy time. As they show interest in the toy and try to reach for it, move it slightly farther away to encourage them to crawl towards it. The game of chasing the toy will inspire them to move forward.
Baby Tunnel Fun: Create a mini tunnel using large pillows or rolled-up blankets and place it on the floor. Put a toy or a favorite object at the other end of the tunnel, just out of your baby's reach. The curiosity to get the toy will motivate them to crawl through the tunnel.
Crawl Along with Baby: Get down on the floor and crawl alongside your baby. This shows them that crawling is fun and something you enjoy too. Babies often imitate their parents, and seeing you crawl will inspire them to do the same.
Using Toys as Crawling Incentives
Toys can be fantastic tools to motivate crawling. Choose toys that move or make sounds to attract your baby's attention.
Place these toys slightly farther away from your little one during tummy time or on the floor during playtime to encourage them to crawl towards them. You can also use toys that your baby can push or roll, making the movement more enticing.
Remember to use positive reinforcement, praising and clapping when your baby successfully reaches the toy. This positive association will encourage them to keep trying and build their confidence in crawling.
What causes delays in crawling?
Delays in crawling can occur in some babies, and it's essential to be aware of potential factors that might contribute to this. Every baby develops at their own pace, so variations in crawling readiness are normal.
One common cause of delay is the amount of time spent in baby gear, such as bouncers or walkers, which restricts natural movement and exploration. At the recommendation of the orthopedic we used none of these.
Premature birth or low muscle tone may also play a role in delaying crawling.
Babies who skip tummy time or spend limited time on their stomachs might experience delays in building the necessary upper body strength for crawling.
Additionally, if a baby has mastered other forms of movement, such as rolling or scooting, they might not feel the need to crawl right away.
Parental anxiety or overstimulation can also impact a baby's motivation to explore. Providing ample floor time, encouraging tummy time, and creating a safe space for exploration can help support your baby's journey towards crawling at their own pace.
If you have concerns about your baby's development, consulting with a pediatrician can offer reassurance and guidance.
What happens if the baby doesn't learn to crawl?
If babies don't learn to crawl, it can lead to a missed opportunity for crucial physical and cognitive development. Crawling plays a vital role in building strength, coordination, and motor skills in the upper body and limbs. It helps babies develop their spatial awareness, depth perception, and hand-eye coordination.
Not learning to crawl may affect a baby's ability to explore their environment independently, which can impact their overall physical and cognitive growth.
However, it's essential to remember that not all babies crawl, and some may opt for alternative forms of movement like rolling, scooting, or bottom shuffling.
Each baby develops uniquely, and some may bypass crawling altogether and proceed to walking.
If your baby isn't crawling but is achieving other developmental milestones and showing interest in exploring their surroundings, it may not be a cause for concern.
When to Seek Professional Advice?
Every baby develops at their own pace, but if you notice delays in motor skills or have concerns about your baby's crawling development, it's essential to consult your pediatrician. While some babies may start crawling earlier or later, significant delays or other developmental concerns should not be ignored.
Your pediatrician can assess your baby's overall development and provide valuable guidance. Early intervention and support, if needed, can make a significant difference in addressing any potential issues and promoting healthy development.
Helping your baby learn to crawl is an exciting and rewarding experience. Every baby is unique, and some may take more time to crawl than others.