When do babies crawl? 5 important steps you should learn.

When do babies crawl, and how do we teach them to do it? This article presents 5 easy steps you can take, and 3 great movies.

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that babies love to get around. And more importantly, we can agree that they’re not very good at it. That’s why as a new parent, babysitter, or anyone really, it is necessary to understand the why’s and the how’s of babies’ movements.

According to child development experts, one of the most common questions they get is: at what age do babies crawl? While there is no definite time mark, the first time a baby will try to move on its own could be anywhere from six to ten months. However, some babies may start earlier or later than others. This does not always mean that there’s something wrong with your baby; sometimes they’ve just got places to be!

The first thing we have to understand about crawling is – it’s not exactly a programmed part of a baby’s development. In fact, some babies will skip crawling altogether. Before their legs are strong enough to hold them up, babies will experiment with different ways of moving. So while some babies will crawl like we’re used to seeing, others may prefer alternative movement methods like: scooting, rolling or cruising. So if your baby is not crawling, don’t panic as long as they keep it moving. However, if you’re insistent on crawling, there might be a way to teach them to do this.

How to Teach Babies to Crawl

Teaching babies to crawl is not something most parents or child development specialists may ever get to do. In most cases, your baby will figure it out on their own; however, a few babies might need a nudge. If you’re looking to give your baby the nudge, you’re in luck because I have a few tips that could help.

First things first, teaching a baby to crawl is less about teaching and more about giving them room to learn on their own. Also, before you start teaching, you have to ensure that they are ready. You can do this by asking and answering the following questions:

  • Can your baby support their head on their own?
  • Can they roll over on their own?
  • Can they sit up on their own?

If the answers to these questions are yes, then we can assume that your baby is ready to get moving.

With babies, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the academic information out there. Sometimes, the most reassuring information comes from those who have done it before – I’m talking about other parents. That’s why in this post, we’ll be discussing tips as shared by other parents.

On his YouTube channel, Dad’s Dad talks about tips and tricks that were effective in teaching his baby to crawl.

Now let’s get right to it.

  1. Let your baby have as much floor and tummy time as possible. In order for babies to develop the necessary motor skills, they need to spend as much time on their tummies as possible. At first this might be uncomfortable for them because they won’t be able to control their bodies in this position. You’ll have to introduce it to them in little doses. You can start with a few minutes daily. Over time, they’ll build the necessary core strength to hold themselves up. They’ll start figuring out how to lift and support their heads. To help them further, try to make floor and tummy time fun for them. You could place toys on the floor around them, pat them softly or even get down to their level. All of this will help your baby develop muscles in their back, arms and legs to help them crawl.
  2. Motivate them with toys. Like we earlier discussed, babies will not instantly fall in love with tummy time. You have to figure out how to motivate them and toys are a great way to do that. When we say toys, it could be anything from a soft foam play mat to everyday items that your baby finds interesting. For example, if your baby finds the covers of plastic jars interesting, you could leave them around during tummy time. Just keep an eye on them so that they do not injure or arm themselves.
  3. Make the most of nursing pillows. Nursing pillows are simply horseshoe-shaped pillows that provide support during breastfeeding. The pillows are placed around the mid-section and then the babies are placed on the pillows. This will help to bring the baby to the right height for breastfeeding as well as provide support to your back. Now according to Dad’s Dad, nursing pillows can be used for so much more. By simply placing the pillow on the floor and tucking the baby in the pillow, you are teaching your baby to get comfortable in that position. The pillow provides them with the support they need to hold their bodies up. With time, your baby will figure out that they can hold these positions even when the nursing pillows are absent. You might even notice them trying to climb over the pillows after a little while.
  4. Try different locations. Although this one might seem tricky, it is really helpful as long as you’re supervising them. So instead of restricting tummy time to just the floor or play mat, try the bed or even the changing table. To make this easier, dress them in long sleeves and pants. Clothes on any smooth surface would make scooting easier and inspire them to get around. You could also switch things up by making a game out of it. During the next tummy time, try creating a pillow fort around your baby. As they attempt to crawl over the fort, they’re building strength and learning to explore.
  5. Encourage your baby. The one thing most of us do not know is that babies are actually more intelligent than we give them credit for. They pick up on our actions, our reactions and they can always tell when something is going well or not. When you show excitement at your baby’s crawl attempt, they would be encouraged to keep trying. So cheer them on whenever they try to move (even if they’re not exactly good at it). You could get other family members to join in too. You could even play their favourite song whenever you notice them trying to move. The constant encouragement will let them know that they’re doing something right, and even if they’re not, that’s okay too.

While you go on to try these tricks, always remember – safety first. While you’re letting your baby explore movement, make sure they are minimum risk of danger. Baby-proof your house if you need to, keep your floors clean and dry, and most importantly, do not leave them unattended.

When Do Babies Start to Crawl

Okay, so we’re all caught up on how to get them to crawl. Now let’s talk about the different crawling stages that you should look out for.

The first one is the rollover. This usually starts at around four moths and it involves rolling from side to side. Most babies will go through this stage as they learn to roll from their tummies to their back and vice versa. Before your baby masters the full rollover, you will notice them rocking from side to side. This is the foundation for rolling as they are learning their bodies and how to use it.

The next stage is the frustrated swimmer. If you’ve been around a few babies, you’ll notice them trying to move their bodies forward by flailing their legs and hands. You should also notice them express some frustration at failing delightfully at this. But that’s okay, at the end of the day, we’re all human.

After a couple of weeks, they would start to enjoy tummy time. It no longer feels uncomfortable for them and they’re finally getting the hang of things.

At about five months old, they should start getting comfortable on their tummy. Once they are comfortable, they will begin to explore getting on their knees. You may also notice them pushing up on their elbows when placed on their stomach. At this stage your baby has figured out how to support their head on their own. They are now building the strength to support their weight on their hands and knees.

Once they get comfortable on their knees, you should notice them trying to shuffle from place to place. This almost looks like crawling but slow down, they’re not there yet. This is more belly and elbow movements than it is crawling.

At around the six month mark, you should notice them doing what experts would call “the horse”. They simply get on their hands and knees and hold that position. Soon enough they would start rocking back and forth or side to side. You should be getting excited at this point because it means that your baby is almost ready to crawl.

Now that they’re comfortable on their knees, the next step is holding up their weight. Every now and then, you would see them holding a plank or a push up position. This is just them getting used to supporting their weight on their own. The moment your baby has mastered how to support their weight, they are ready to go!

All of these stages could occur anytime between six and ten months; but once they start, they never stop. Once your baby masters the art of crawling, you need to pay extra attention to safety because these little creatures are always on the move. Also, you have to ensure that their hands and knees are always protected from injury. I’m talking onesies, long pants, long sleeves, clean floors, anything to make sure that crawling does not cause them injury.

When Should I Be Worried?

As we’ve earlier discussed, some babies will start crawling later than others and some may skip crawling entirely. So just because your baby is six months old and still not crawling, doesn’t mean something is wrong with them. As long they’re showing signs of progress in their motor skills, they should be fine. However, if by the 12 month mark, they have shown  no signs of movement, you may need to call your paediatrician. More importantly, nobody knows your baby like you do. If at any point you feel like something is wrong, you should probably schedule that appointment. If there’s a problem, the earlier it is detected, the sooner it can be figured out.



About the author

Read a little about me | See my other posts
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop