Nothing feels quite exciting as watching your little lovely baby grow and develop. During the first year of their life, they’ll develop many critical kiddo skills such as smiling, cooing, sitting, rolling over, and crawling. Such skills are called developmental milestones. What’s better than watching your baby make that first step toward self-self sufficiency? Nothing!
Related: Best Crawling Knee Pads
But do babies really need help to learn to crawl? No, children are born with a natural ability to learn what they need to know to survive and thrive.
You didn’t teach your little one to suckle, did you? Likewise, your baby can (and will) learn to crawl and eventually amble about the house without your help. Crawling, just like suckling, is a natural developmental milestone.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with contributing in some way to your little loved one’s growth and development. Everyone needs encouragement even when it comes to doing things they have a natural ability for. Your child has the same need for support — in this case, parental support.
But you’re here to learn different ways to support your baby’s crawling efforts. So, let’s roll!
How to Teach a Baby to Crawl
Learning to crawl is a complex skill that can frustrate even the most determined baby. Sometimes, babies cry when they learn they can’t reach the person or object of interest no matter how much work they put into the struggle.
As a caring mom, you can urge your baby on and help them along in the following ways:
11 Simple But Effective Ways to Help a Baby Crawl
Let’s jump right in and learn…
1. Have Your Baby Spending Plenty of time on Their Tummy
Let your child lie on their tummy from an early stage. How early? Start with short periods of tummy time from as early as one month. You could start with one or two-minute sessions and lengthen the duration as the baby grows.
Lying on the tummy helps strengthen the core muscles in the neck, legs, arms, shoulders, and back. It’s a great way of preparing the baby for the crawling stage.
Make tummy time an integral part of your baby’s daily playtime routine. You can put them on the floor indoors (make sure it’s properly carpeted). You can also train them to craw by putting them tummy-down on the ground outdoors.
If you choose to have your baby learn how to crawl outdoors, lay a mat or blanket on the ground. You never know what’s crawling in the grass! Plus, there could be any number of tiny, sharp things on the ground that like pricking young, delicate, soft skin.
Here’s one more thing. Make sure to supervise your baby when they’re crawling. Alternatively, have someone else watch them during tummy time.
2. Let Your Little One Play in Front of a Mirror
You see, babies are naturally inquisitive. If you put them on the floor in front of a mirror, they’ll want to study their beautiful reflection.
Also, they’ll make every effort to touch the little happy thing in the mirror, even try to play with it. As the child tries to satisfy their curiosity, they’ll make a forward movement and sometimes fall.
But they’ll still want to play with the kid in the shiny mirror, which means they’ll keep rolling forward while attempting to crane their neck. In the process, they’ll see improved crawling skills.
3. Help Your Baby Rock Back and Forth
When your baby gets up and they’re on all-fours, you could playfully help them rock back and forth. Rocking back and forth is a clear sign they’re trying to gain strength and confidence to move forward.
What’s more, this little rocking-back-and-forth exercise also helps babies get used to balancing in that position. Once your baby develops proper balance, they’ll gradually start moving forward.
4. Use Your Palms to Assist Your Baby Crawl
Execute this trick when your baby has begun learning the traditional crawling style. Do the following. With your child on all-fours, place the palms of your hands firmly behind their feet.
Doing that small love-packed act boosts your child’s confidence as well as stability. Your palms also offer the baby something to “push off” from when they start moving forward.
5. Join in the Fun, Parent
Practice makes perfect is a tired cliché, but there’s a reason it’s become a proverb. So, allow the baby enough time to practice crawling. More importantly, join in and have fun playing and crawling with your child.
Lie next to your baby on the floor when they’re on all-fours, ready to crawl forward. Even better, get on all-fours, just like them.
Support their abdomen, too, while letting their feet and hands touch the ground. Egg them on by making it appear like Daddy or Mommy is trying to win this little competition.
Your baby likely won’t want you to outperform them. Who likes losing a contest? So, they’ll push themselves harder, harder than the previous push. Soon, crawling will stop feeling like a Sisyphean struggle to your baby.
6. Put things of Interest Out of Reach
As mentioned earlier, babies are curious and exceedingly explorative little beings. These young souls love to reach out for things that spark a desire to crawl in them.
Can you think of a better way to help a baby learn crawling than motivating them toward the direction of their toddler desires?
When your baby spots an object in front of them, they say, “I’m gonna get this, mommy.” And they start inching forward just so they can have that thing.
As a parent or grandparent, you want to encourage the baby to keep going. And as the child gets close enough to the item, allow them to touch it before moving it a little farther away.
Letting them touch and hold the chased-after item is like helping your child build a success mentality. Knowing they’ll get a reward for putting in the effort tends to motivate them to try even harder. Odds are that your little one will keep winning…and they’ll soon master crawling.
7. Some Toys Can Encourage Crawling
Any toy that encourages the baby to play on the floor on their tummy can encourage them to crawl. The best items for the job are toys that move as the baby pushes them forward.
Such toys raise the baby’s curiosity, excite them, and keep them busy so you can breathe. As the little boy or girl moves the toy around the room, they’re perfecting the developing crawling skills the whole time.
8. Provide the Right Clothing for Your Crawling Child
Crawling is pretty much exercise, and don’t we all need to gear up for such kinds of activities?
Likewise, your baby needs the right clothes while learning to crawl. Your baby will spend tons of time crawling and scooting on soft, vulnerable knees, elbows, and hands. For that reason, the baby needs comfortable, well-fitting clothes that also provide padding on the knees and elbows.
Protect that Small, Delicate Head, Too
Crawling children collide with things and sometimes fall — a lot. That’s why your baby needs protective baby headgear designed to protect them from head bumps, cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
Have you considered gifting your baby one of the best baby helmets for crawling? Look, your baby doesn’t have to wear a helmet. But what’s wrong with them having one more layer of protection for safety during their crawl sessions? Nothing!
9. Provide Enough Crawling Space
When your baby begins to crawl, they’ll get super excited and want to move and scoot about all day. Obviously, your child is going to need enough space to enjoy their newly acquired skill all they can. Remember, practice makes perfect.
But what if my house is small? I get it, mom. You live in a tiny house. And your furniture and other stuff have taken up all room. But it’s not too hard to get some of those items out the way.
You most likely have things you stopped using months ago. Things such as that electricity-guzzling baby humidifier or air purifier you’ve been meaning to get rid of. Or whatever else is needlessly gobbling up much-needed space.
Consider giving away stuff you no longer need. Or sell them. Or whatever. You’ve embraced minimalism, after all.
10. Provide a Safe Crawling Environment
If your baby gets hurt when crawling, that can slow down their development. So, make sure your home stays safe enough for the baby to move around.
Babies are naturally curious and are always trying to get their little hands on things, even things they couldn’t reach previously. Some of the objects they’re chasing could be dangerous to them.
So, get rid of any unstable furniture at home. Also, store away objects with sharp edges or find a way to childproof those objects. But don’t stop there. Hide exposed electrical cords such as baby monitor cords. Basically, get everything that might harm your baby out of the way.
11. Be Patient and Understanding for Your Baby
As you apply these tips on how to teach a baby to crawl, remember not to push your little bundle of joy too hard.
If you push them beyond their current ability, their confidence might take a dip. And that might end up slowing down the crawling process.
So, be patient mom/dad, and keep cheering your baby on. Give them plenty of tender loving care. And while you are at it, remember to capture all those memorable moments on camera.
You’ve learned how to train your baby to crawl. Now, it’s time to learn a few other bits of knowledge to help your and your baby’s developmental journey.
What is Crawling?
Crawling is that developmental stage between sitting and walking. When this growth phase sets in, your baby starts moving around on their own for the first time.
You put your baby on the floor or other surface, and voila! they start moving. This process could kick anywhere from six months onwards. But each baby is a unique individual, and your baby might start crawling sooner or later than 6 months.
Unless you have a valid reason to worry about your child’s developmental progress, it’s best to relax and let them develop at their own pace.
Not Every Baby Learns to Crawl, Though
Crawling isn’t a must-pass-through developmental phase for every baby. According to David Tracer, a recognized anthropologist, crawling doesn’t always have to happen before a baby can walk. Now, that contradicts the conventional wisdom parents and pediatricians have sworn by for years.
Tracer provides multiple examples of traditional societies in different places around the world whose babies skip the crawling stage. This researcher further supports his assertions and by pointing out that even primates such as chimpanzees and gorillas don’t often put their little ones on the ground so they can learn to crawl.
Tracer’s discoveries seem to suggest that humans invented crawling as a prerequisite to walking at some point in recent history. So, don’t worry if your baby skips the crawling stage altogether.
Your child could be one of those who roll, wriggle, shuffle, or scoot around before pulling themselves up and finally walking. So long as your baby can move around, they’ll naturally develop balance and coordination, just like other babies.
3 Great Benefits of Crawling
Crawling offers certain great benefits that greatly help a baby as they grow and develop. Below are a couple of benefits crawling gives babies:
1·Crawling Strengthens a Baby’s Muscles
According to nationwidechildrens.org, crawling helps strengthen the muscles on a child’s young, growing body. As the little kid crawls, they put their weight through their hands to develop stability and strength in the shoulders, arms, legs, and head.
Stronger muscles translate into increased control of the baby’s arms, legs, and torso for handling future self-reliance skills. Skills such as dressing, writing, playing with toys, coloring, feeding, and more.
2·Crawling Supports Brain Development
As your baby crawls, their young brain also develops. But how does crawling help brain development? If you’ve been watching your baby crawling around the baby room or wherever (and what parent hasn’t?), you definitely have noticed they seem to avoid certain places.
Your baby avoids those areas because they probably got hurt while crawling around those places. Their brain learns to associate crawling near those corners with pain and danger and instructs the child to avoid those areas.
Naturally, the baby’s brain grows and develops through helping the baby solve the various challenges they encounter when crawling.
3·Crawling Helps Sensory System Development
Another crawling benefit is improved sensory system development. Crawling requires perfect coordination between all five senses. And as these senses develop, the child gains the ability to get around without much parental supervision.
Over time, you’ll notice that your baby can crawl over different surfaces and textures such as carpets, hard floors, and even grass without problems. The child also (eventually) accumulates enough motor skills to crawl up and down stairs as well as climb over furniture.
So, make sure to childproof your home to give your little one a safe crawling environment.
5 Signs Your Baby is Ready to Crawl
1.When the baby demonstrates noticeably good head support. A baby needs to hold their head up when moving around, and that requires enough strength in the neck muscles. If your child can lift up their head with ease when you put them on the carpet or cot, that’s likely a sign they’d like to learn to crawl.
2.When the baby is able to sit upright without any support: This is a sign that the child’s torso/trunk muscles have developed to quite some extent, and that the baby has gained some balancing ability.
3.When the baby starts doing mini pushups: Is your baby trying to perform kiddo push-ups every time you put them on the floor? That’s likely a sign they can’t wait to crawl. My baby would lie on his belly and lift their head and chest while using their arms for support.
4.When the baby starts to roll over as they try to reach things of interest such as toys. Rolling over is often a hard-to-miss sign that a baby has developed adequate strength to start crawling.
5.When the child begins getting up on all-fours and rocking forward and backward. Babies do this sort of thing with their arms straight while the body stays parallel to the ground.
5 Different Baby Crawling Styles
When it comes to learning to crawl, each baby decides how they want to do it. Here are 5 crawling styles babies use to get around the house. Your baby might favor one or two styles over the others, or even skip crawling altogether.
1. The Classic Crawl/Traditional Crawling Style
When you mention the word crawling, many people’s brains call up mental images of a baby moving around on all-fours. And that’s not surprising at all since crawling on all-fours is the most common crawling style.
This way of crawling is called the traditional style or the classic crawl. With the belly on the floor, the baby’s on all-fours as they start moving forward using their knees and arms.
2. I’m Feeling like a Crab!
Your baby could also start their crawling journey with the crab crawl before changing to the traditional/classic crawl.
The crab crawl seems like a pretty awkward style where the little thing moves backward instead of forward. This crawling style can cause frustration in babies as their effort seems to achieve the opposite of their intentions.
3. I Want to be a Bear and Scare You Stiff, Mommy
Your baby might shun the crab-like crawl or the traditional crawl in favor of the bear crawl. In this style, the baby moves using their feet and hands. And the knees don’t touch the ground as they in other crawling styles. Don’t be alarmed if he makes this his primary crawling style.
4. I’ll Join the Army When I Grow Up, Dada
Your little one could also opt to kick off their crawling journey with the commando crawl. Some people call this crawling style the belly crawl. Here, he keeps his belly and legs on the floor and uses his arms to pull himself along.
Now that you know how best to assist your baby crawl, get down to work! And when they’re ready to start walking, come here and learn how to help your baby walk sooner.
I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/esther.moni/">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="https://ke.linkedin.com/in/esther-moni-3841b573/">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKcVb3NNDrURDH8C0KiAE1g/">nascent youtube channel.