How to Teach your Baby to Crawl
Knowing how to teach your baby to crawl, or more so, facilitating your baby learning to crawl, can greatly increase the speed of their motor development. The following ‘how to’ breaks down the different development stages and highlights how you can make things easier for them.
1- Make sure they are at the right stage; their reflexes need to first be fully functional. Before your baby can crawl a number of infant reflexes must fade (fingers curling around yours if their palm is tickled or limbs shot out when startled). Most babies outgrow these instincts during their first year of life as they start to sit upright and explore the world. At the same time, two new reflexes emerge: The lateral tilt reflex (causes your baby to extend a steadying hand if they wobbles while sitting), the parachuting reflex (makes them reach up and grasp for something to buffer a fall). Both are essential in crawling as well as a baby’s increasing ability to spot things at a distance.
2- Be sure to have sufficient emotional support instilled; your baby needs confidence in your first. Your baby’s ability to crawl can be traced to the development of their subcortex, but emotional development is an area more with the parent’s control: A sense of confidence that you love him also helps your child crawl (your baby needs to know you’ll be waiting for him/her when he/she comes back).
3- Help them with muscle development. Because it may take weeks for your child to become strong enough to lift their tummy, on their first attempts (which can occur at as early as 4 months), they may look like they’re trying to squeeze under a fence on their belly, with their hands making swimming motions. Babies may also crawl in reverse at first as baby’s develop body strength from the head down and so their arms are initially stronger than their legs. Many babies lift up by their arms and push off, resulting in them going backward. Games resisting against a baby’s pushing legs may help with this.
4- Realise that they will learn their own technique. Your child’s style may remain unconventional. Some kids sit on their rear and scoot, others roll, and still others continue to crawl backward, because If a child finds a way that’s effective, they may not be motivated to refine their technique. Show your baby by example!
5- See ‘how to baby-proof your home’ for some tips on making your house safe for baby once he/she becomes mobile.
6- Don’t be concerned if they aren’t in a rush to move around. If your baby has little desire to move around, perhaps it’s because they have given themselves other learning priorities such as learning to talk?
Give your child regular time on their tummy when supervised. They may object but after a little while they will become used to it and begin to start pushing off of the floor to take their weight.