Watching as your baby starts to crawl is a proud moment, one quickly followed by hiding all the breakables at baby height! Crawling is one of the milestones that signifies your baby is growing up and often brings tears or squeals of joy from doting parents.
Babies usually start to crawl between 6 and 10 months, although it is always important to remember that every baby is unique and will meet their milestones in their own time. Some babies prefer to bum shuffle or crawl sideways, others skip the crawling stage altogether and just start walking a little later. There are no set rules, and as a parent, the most valuable thing you can do is play and enjoy spending time with your baby.
Crawling is no easy task for a baby. When they are born, they experience the sensation of gravity, which is far stronger than what they have been used to in the womb. This adjustment takes time. They also need to develop the physical strength needed that allows them to support their own body weight on their hands and legs. Lastly, they need to get a grasp on co-ordination. When your precious infant is born, they don’t have control over their limbs and as a result their limbs flail and kick without rhythm or intention. When you take all these things into account, you can empathise more with the challenges your baby faces when learning to crawl.
As a parent, your role of encouraging and championing your baby's progress is an important one, so here are 5 practical things you can do to support your baby’s development into the crawling phase.
1) Give lots of opportunities for tummy time play
Tummy time is a fantastic way to strengthen baby muscles. You can give your baby plenty of opportunities for tummy time straight from birth. Not all babies will love spending lots of time on their front at first, but as they get stronger, they will enjoy this position more. You can encourage your baby to embrace this time by putting toys or mirrors in front of them and getting on the floor with them face to face. For more advice on getting started with tummy times, as well as lots of ideas on making it really fun THIS ARTICLE may help you on your way.
2) Give your baby a reason to move
When your baby starts to hold toys and show an interest in favourites, hold the toy just out of your baby’s reach, giving your baby the motivation to move. You can do this before they are able to crawl, but make sure that you move the toy forward again so they can reach out for it and experience the positive emotion of success. Your baby will lean forward more and more before putting their hands on the floor and rocking forwards and back as they develop the coordination and strength to begin their first crawl. It's very common for your baby to start crawling backwards before they go forwards, so if they are getting further away from their toy, move it into their reach and give them lots of encouragement for their crawling efforts - forward motion will come soon enough!
3) Create a safe space
Make sure your baby has plenty of room to explore the world around them. Their environment should be safe and clean - take particular care if you have older children around with small toys that babies could put in their mouths. Always supervise your baby; it can be surprising how quick they can be once they get moving.
4) Help them on their way
Actually getting going can be a challenge. To physically help them on their way, put your hands behind their feet when they are on all fours. This gives them something to push against and can provide them with enough momentum to get moving.
5) Build strength with baby yoga
Baby yoga is specially designed with your baby in mind. It helps to build muscle strength but also coordination and flexibility, all essential skills that will help your little one master the art of crawling. Using songs and rhymes as you practice some yoga poses and movements can make it even more fun, and help with language development too. You can read more about some of the benefits of baby yoga HERE.
How can Tots Play help?
Tots Play provides a warm, welcoming environment where you and your baby can spend special time together learning and practising all the things we have been talking about here, including baby yoga, tummy time activities and lots more. With a safe space and lots of fun ideas, colourful equipment and music in an age appropriate environment, your baby can develop their strength, co-ordination and confidence with you by their side: a fantastic environment to encourage all round development, as well as crawling. Every class your child needs in one!
At Tots Play, we know that you are the experts in helping your baby reach their milestones. We are just here to give you the time, space and confidence which will allow your baby to thrive.
To find your nearest Tots Play session, take a look HERE and come and join in the fun very soon.
No classes near you yet? Have you considered running your own. The Tots Play Franchise programme offers the opportunity to run your own, fun and rewarding, family friendly business, delivering our popular classes and services in your local area. Take a look HERE for more details.
Whatever stage your little one is at, enjoy every moment. Happy Playing!
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