As a first time parent, you may have constantly asked about how to help your baby learn to crawl.
The response is always that there is no need for concern. Babies who are not yet crawling can still explore their surroundings and develop new skills in other ways. For example, sitting up on the floor or your lap could give them access to toys they couldn’t reach before!
Right now, it might seem like your baby will never become mobile. But the truth is, they’ll be climbing the furniture and unlocking the baby gates before you know it.
Fortunately, you don’t need to teach your baby to crawl. This is a natural developmental milestone that happens when your baby is ready. My Baby Nursery is your one-stop baby product store.
How Babies Learn to Crawl
A baby’s first jump forward might be a scoot backward. As babies figure out how to do that arm-leg-arm-leg crawling movement, they sometimes go backward first and then learn how to crawl forward.
So, for a while, babies might cry in frustration as they somehow find themselves hurrying away from the very object or person they are so determined to reach.
The process of learning to crawl differs among babies as they work out a way to move that is unique to them. Some ways babies learn to drive:
The “I’ll Have the Usual.”
This is the classic crawl—alternating hand on one side and knee on the other to go, go, go.
Just like at the beach, the “crab” bends one knee and extends the opposite leg to scoot forward.
Look out; this crawler lies flat on her belly and drags herself forward using her arms.
The “Rolling Wonder”
Who needs to crawl when rolling gets me where I need to go?
The “Take it in Stride” Kid.
Some children skip crawling and go right to walking. No time to waste—here I come!
As long as a baby is making progress in their ability to use their body to get around, that’s what’s important.
When do Do Babies start To Crawl?
For most babies, the skills needed for movement develop around the midway point of the first year of life. You’ll probably see your baby start to crawl between 6 and 10 months.
However, if your baby is more significant than average, it might take them a little longer to figure out how to move around.
And if they’re primarily focused on other skills, like fine motor skills or language development, this can delay their focus on crawling.
Many parents are anxious to see their baby crawl and closely monitor their baby’s developments.
Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! However, it’s important to remember that all babies are different and follow different development path.
Also, it’s important to remember that rolling overcomes before crawling.
Some newborns may start rolling over early on but take a long time to begin crawling. Other infants may be late to start rolling over but begin to crawl and walk soon after that.
Each child is unique.
Generally speaking, babies begin rolling over at around three to five months old. Your baby might roll over from their back to their tummy or vice versa, or they might do a half-roll onto their side.
Whichever way your baby rolls, it’s an accomplishment to be celebrated!
As far as safety is concerned, once your baby gets the hang of rolling over, they’re mobile and can probably get where they want to go!
Even if they aren’t standing or crawling yet, you’ll probably need to do a bit of babyproofing and tidying up.
But one of the biggest things to keep in mind is that you should never leave your baby alone on the changing table.
This even goes for babies who haven’t rolled over yet since you can never quite know when they will make that first flip.
So, when changing your baby’s diaper, gather all of the supplies you’ll need ahead of time and always keep a hand on your baby.
Expert tip: Opt for diaper wipes and cream with natural and organic ingredients.
Most babies begin to crawl somewhere between six and ten months of age. As with rolling over, there are several different ways in which your baby might start to creep.
For instance, your little one may start to wiggle across the floor on their belly. Or they may push themselves around with their legs.
Others still may use their arms to pull their tiny bodies around. There’s no right or wrong way to crawl!
It’s also important to note that there is no conclusive evidence that babies who crawl earlier in life become more intelligent, more robust, or healthier later in life.
Some research suggests that infants who start crawling earlier on may develop more vital motor and sensory skills as children.
However, other research finds the complete opposite—that there is no link between early developmental milestones and cognitive abilities in children ages six to 11.
The moral of the story is this: you don’t need to worry if your baby is a late crawler! Just keep giving them plenty of TLC and follow the tips below.
How can I help my baby learn to crawl?
Since babies have an innate desire to move around, helping them learn to crawl is less about teaching and more about giving them opportunities to practice the skills they need.
Here are the things you can do to help your baby learn to crawl.
Give Your Baby Adequate Tummy Time
While babies should always sleep on their backs, it is good to give them some tummy time every day while they are awake.
When your baby spends time lying on their belly, they practice raising their head off the ground, strengthening their trunk and back and getting their limbs moving freely. Both of these activities help build the muscles they’ll need for crawling.
Some babies don’t enjoy tummy time, especially at first.
If your little one screams or protests, try doing it only in short bursts and for just a few minutes at a time.
You can also make floor playtime more fun by giving them a few minutes in different positions, including sides, back, and tummy.
And finally, try bonding tummy time by lying down on your back and putting baby on your tummy, so you can look at their face while they practice lifting their head.
Reduce the Amount of Time in Walkers and Bouncers
Babies who don’t spend a lot of time on the floor may take longer to develop the strength they need to crawl.
Although baby swings, walkers, bouncers, and other baby seats are an excellent way to keep your baby safely confined, giving your baby floor time encourages exploring and movement.
Give Your Baby a Little Extra Motivation
Babies already have an automatic drive toward movement, but you can make it a little more exciting and motivating by giving them something to reach for.
Try putting their favourite toy on the ground during tummy time, but put the toy just out of reach. This will interest them and give them a goal to work for as they’re trying to move.
Another trick is placing a mirror on the floor in front of your baby. As babies see their reflection in the mirror, this can motivate them to scoot and gradually crawl to the object.
They’ll probably try some creative ways to get to the toy, like rolling and stretching.
You may have a hard time not helping them, but if you can resist the temptation to move the toy a little closer, you might be surprised at how patient they can be as they work to solve the problem on their own.
Provide a Comfortable Space for Them to Explore
Set up an area on your floor that has interesting toys and things they can safely explore.
If you have an uncarpeted floor, you can help your baby start scooting across the floor a little sooner by dressing them in long sleeves and pants.
Clothes on a smooth surface will help them move with less friction, which will make it a little easier for them to get started.
Get on the Floor and Crawl With Your Baby
Your baby may start to crawl sooner if you or an older sibling gets on the floor with them during tummy time.
The truth is, even if a baby sees their favourite toy a few feet away, they may not know how to begin scooting or crawling.
But if you show them what to do, they may imitate your movement and attempt to crawl toward the object.
Give Your Baby Plenty of Tummy Time
One of the most important things you can do to help your baby’s muscles develop is to give them plenty of tummy time.
Put simply; this is just time that you allow your baby to spend on their tummy.
This position is beneficial for the muscles in your baby’s arms, legs, back, and neck—all of which help your baby crawl.
Tummy time often works best in your baby’s room or nursery so that they can have a personal space in which to feel comfortable.
The critical thing to remember about tummy time is that you or another adult should always be supervised.
Encourage Your Baby to Play With Their Hands Elevated
Another way to help your baby’s muscles grow is to have them play with their hands elevated. Try putting their arms on top of a pillow or stuffed animal during tummy time.
You can also encourage them to put their hands onto elevated objects (e.g. furniture or toys) while they’re sitting down. Just be sure to supervise so your baby doesn’t fall over!
Lift Your Baby Off the Floor
Getting your baby ready to crawl is all about strengthening their pint-sized muscles! Help your little one get a leg workout by lifting them off the floor just a bit.
You can pick your baby up by the arms or armpits just enough to support their body weight but not so much that their feet leave the ground.
This allows your baby to practice the motion of walking and will help strengthen their legs.
Let Your Baby Play in Front of a Mirror
A mirror is an excellent addition to tummy time. Please take advantage of your little bundle of joy’s natural curiosity, and let them play in front of a mirror!
They will want to investigate their reflection, which will lead to holding themselves up and reaching out toward the mirror.
These movements will help get your baby crawling in no time!
Setting up a particular area that motivates your baby to move around can go a long way in helping them to start crawling.
A mirror that is carefully placed on the floor can be part of this space.
The area should be safe and hazard-free, but you should always supervise your little one even still.
In addition to a mirror, toys can be great motivators. That brings us to our next point.
Use Toys to Encourage Crawling
Nothing gets people moving like a bit of reward! The same is true for babies; they need the right incentive.
Place your baby’s favourite toys—or a brand new one—in front of them during tummy time.
You can place toys just out of their reach during playtime, too.
Put your baby in a sitting position on the floor and set toys in front of them, slightly to the right or left.
These toys should be barely out of their reach—far enough so that your little one has to move around to get them but not so far that they get frustrated!
Play tunnels are also a great way to encourage crawling, and they don’t have to be fancy! My Baby Nursery has a huge range of baby toys for your baby room.
You can buy your little one a play tunnel, or you can make one by putting a blanket over a couple of kitchen chairs.
Take Your Baby Out of Supportive Devices
Because these items provide so much support, your little one isn’t forced to use their muscles to support their weight.
This can lead to delayed development, so be sure to limit time in supportive devices.
Allow Your Baby to Play on All Sides
During playtime, try moving your baby into different positions and allowing them to play on all sides. An even mix of the right side, left side, back, and tummy will help your little one’s body become strong and healthy.
Hold Your Baby in a Crawling Position
To get your baby crawling, allow them to practice! One great way to do this is to lie next to your baby and support their abdomen while they are on all fours.
Gently hold most of your baby’s body weight while still allowing their hands and feet to touch the ground. This will get them familiar with the feeling and movements of crawling.
Crawl With Your Baby
Sometimes little ones need a good example to follow. That’s right; we’re talking about you getting on the floor and showing your baby how it’s done!
Make crawling around part of playing with your baby, and after a while, they might end up imitating what you’re doing!
If you have an older child, this is also a great way to get them involved in playing with your new baby.
Another idea is to get together with other moms and babies for playtime. The little ones who are already crawling can help show your baby the ropes.
Plus, some mom time for you never hurts!
Don’t Make Your Baby Work Too Hard.
Remember to be patient and have fun with your loved one! If your baby becomes agitated or starts crying during playtime, it’s OK to call it off. Just put them on their backs, hold and rock them, or let them get some sleep.
Your baby needs to have positive associations with tummy time and crawling practice!
So don’t force your baby to do it when they aren’t enjoying it, and always give your little one lots of affection after crawling exercises are over.
Always Put Safety First
Last but most certainly not least, always put safety first! You can start by babyproofing your house.
With your little one rolling around and nearly crawling, it’s an excellent idea to babyproof it now. You’re on the brink of a whole new phase!
This means removing small items from the floor, keeping cords out of reach, locking cabinets and drawers, covering electrical outlets, and so much more.
The best thing to do to see what your baby might get into is to get on your hands and knees and take a look around.
Keeping the floor clear and clean is another thing to keep in mind now that your baby is mobile. And we’re not just referring to picking up choking hazards.
A dirty floor may lead to irritated skin or a baby rash.
Finally—and it’s worth repeating a million times—never leave your baby unattended, even just for a minute.
What’s involved in learning to crawl?
Most motor skills are more complicated than they look, and crawling is no exception.
It might seem like moving around is a pretty basic activity for a baby, but your baby needs to develop two critical abilities in reality.
A baby must first develop muscular strength to support themselves on their arms and legs. And second, they need to be able to coordinate the movement of their limbs to move it happen.
How to Support Your Baby’s Crawling Skills
The process of learning to crawl differs among babies as they work out a way to move that is unique to them.
Give your baby plenty of tummy time, starting from birth. By playing on their bellies, babies develop the muscle strength in their shoulders, arms, back and trunk (torso) that helps them learn to crawl.
Encourage your baby to reach for the toys she is interested in. Lay interesting toys at just a short distance from your almost-crawler.
See if she can move toward these objects.
Make sure your baby has space to explore that is safe and supervised. Now is the time to begin child-proofing your home.
Take a walk through (or better yet, a crawl-through) your home and see what potential hazards may be at your baby’s level.
Place the palms of your hands behind your child’s feet when he is on all fours. This stabilises him and gives him something to “push off” when he is just learning to crawl.
What to Avoid
Not only are they potentially dangerous, but they also limit practice time on the floor learning to crawl. Walkers can also hamper muscle development.
Spending Lots of Time in Baby Seats and Baby Carriers.
Babies learn how to crawl and later pull up to stand and then walk when they have plenty of time each day to play, move, and explore.
Pushing Your Child to Learn to Crawl.
Pressing a child to develop a skill he isn’t ready for can slow the learning process.
What are the different methods of crawling?
Most babies don’t go straight from immobile to crawling on hands and knees. Some babies never learn the “classic crawl” of alternating the right hand and left foot with the left hand and right foot while on their hands and knees.
Instead, many babies get creative with different types of movement. For example, your baby might start getting around with an “army crawl” by lying on their belly and pulling themselves forward with their arms.
They might also use their legs more than their arms, raising their body by straightening their legs and then propelling forward.
They might try sitting up and scooting forward on their bum, using their arms and legs to move forward. Or they might even skip crawling and go straight from rolling to sitting to walking.
Babies crawl differently and begin crawling at different ages. But, no matter how or when your baby does it, it will be an exciting time!
Following these tips will help your little one learn to crawl. Your baby wants nothing more than for you to be involved in their development and growth.
So get down on the floor with them, give them tummy time, play games that engage all of their senses, and provide a safe environment where they can practice crawling without any worries.
Remember when we said that babies develop differently? This is true! What works for one might not work as well for another, so try different things until you find what’s suitable for your baby. Check out our range of baby nursery products and furniture for all your baby needs.
All parents want the best possible outcome for their children; follow our advice, and it won’t be long before you see your child taking those first steps towards walking independently.