Why Crawling Matters?
- 27 January 2022
- Posted by: CDC
- Category: Parent Tips,
Babies tend to start crawling on their hands and knees at around the age of seven-to-eleven months. Before that, they try to push up from their hands while lying on their tummy or try to wriggle their way forward. Crawling is a very important stage for your child’s development. Here is why:
- Motor planning
Children need to think about how to move their body so that they can go forward. Motor planning is also needed when they transition to and from a crawling position. For example, how to move from sitting to getting up onto their hands and knees, or how to climb up into a big chair from a crawling position.
- Strength and stability
Crawling works many of the muscles in a baby’s body. To see where they are going, they have to hold their heads up and move their heads to look around. This requires all the muscles around the neck to work at the same time. To maintain balance, the muscles around their trunk need to contract. This also enables postural control. In addition, the strength of the muscles around the shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers are important for fine-motor development.
- Bilateral coordination
Amazingly, crawling also helps down the line with reading and writing, as well as other fine-motor activities like cutting! Crawling uses a cross-lateral movement pattern with both sides of the body (arms and legs) working together. This builds the pathways and communication between the left and right sides of the brain.
- Sensory integration
Before babies can crawl freely with good stability and posture, they tend to rock back and forth on their hands and knees to find their balance. This helps develop their vestibular processing skills – their body learning about motion, gravity and balance. This, in turn, supports the development of muscle tone and postural control. Also, the skin contact with different surfaces when crawling stimulates their tactile sense and the pressure on their joints and muscles when weight-bearing, works their proprioceptive sense.
‘So how can I encourage my child to crawl?’ Here are some tips to get your child crawling.
- Tummy time – You can put a cushion under your child’s chest to help elevate the upper body a bit if holding the position is difficult.
- Use a tunnel – Put some toys inside to encourage them to crawl inside.
- Pretend play – Pretend to be a cat, a dog, a cow or any other four-legged creature!
- Spread toys out on the floor beyond their reach – This encourages your child to think about how they can reach the toys further away (by crawling!)