There is no doubt that as new mums we hear that crawling is one of the most important milestones in our baby’s development. But there is good reason for the hearsay.
Bubs has nailed tummy time, tears and all, meaning he now has good neck strength. He has aced the skill of sitting, moving past Humpty Dumpty stage, and core strength is improving by the day. Having now gained a new perspective, he begins discovering his environment and developing spatial awareness. And now…he is on the move! It’s about here us parents, loose a whole lot of spare time, with eyes now glued to Hurricane Harry, who discovers something new and enthralling in all the wrong places. Child proofing the house is now next level! Despite the inconvenience of this stage, it really is an amazing part of your child’s development, as they prepare for the next incredible milestone of walking!
So why is crawling so important to development? Let’s break it down.
Crawling actually involves a high level of coordination. It activates a part of the brain called, corpus collosum, which triggers both sides of the body to work together. It also connects the upper and lower body.
Independence & Navigation
They are learning how to navigate the world around them on their own now and separation anxiety can kick in with force. They can now move their bodies to get that object, a massive feat never achieved before. They work their way around objects on the floor, or over them, to get to their destination, and develop an understanding of their potential and limitations. Crawling involves problems solving and trial and error, all contributing to their cognitive development.
Physical development is an obvious area of benefit. They are now holding their body weight, their head, all while moving. They are developing their gross and fine motor skills, particularly when holding or reaching for objects on the move, all while improving hand eye coordination and balance. Crawling also enhances reflexive strength, meaning they can react to things in their environment.
Crawling incorporates the entire sensory system. They are on the move, so the brain is analysing what they are seeing or trying to get to, what is in the way, what they are hearing (you screaming no as they reach for your phone, keys and the remote) and touch, as they move across surfaces. So, as they are manoeuvring their way around, they are absorbing and developing their sensory system.
Nervous system development
New exercise patterns stimulate the nervous system by building new neural pathways. Neuroplasticity is amazing in babies as they are continuously learning, and crawling helps to develop this system.
Baby not crawling? Try these things…
- Up the tummy time, try lying on the floor in front of them, playing with toys and moving them out of reach to encourage forward movement.
- Encourage them up on their hands for upper body strength
- Get baby sitting – sitting improves core and back strength which helps gain the strength required to crawl.
- Make it interesting. Once they do show signs of crawling, play hide and seek, create some obstacles and get down on the floor and chase them.
There are so many benefits to crawling. One that I have enjoyed, is seeing a new side of my baby’s personality, including determination to get what he wants, and a lot of cheekiness, as he learns to play. It is important to remember that not all babies are on the same timetable and there is a wide range for normal development. However, if you are concern about how your child is tracking, it can be reassuring to seek the guidance of your Paediatrician.