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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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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