Usually somewhere between 6 and 10 months, babies start crawling, although some skip the crawling stage altogether and head straight for pulling themselves up on furniture – or people! And then cruising and walking. Crawling is tiring for babies. It’s a real physical and mental feat for them to crawl. They have to find the strength to lift themselves up, fight the pull of gravity, tame their reflexes, develop their coordination and use their developing motor skills. That’s a lot! Babies will crawl in their own time, but there are lots of things you can do to encourage your baby to crawl or start moving.
Tummy time is one of the most important things you can do to encourage your baby to crawl. Placing babies on their tummies gives them the chance to practice pushing themselves off the ground. It helps develop the strength in their upper body that they will need to crawl. Tummy time sessions should be short, around 5-10 minutes at a time. Get into the habit of doing tummy time sessions daily.
During daily tummy time sessions, you can also try putting toys just out of reach so your little one must do something to reach it. Initially, that something may not be crawling. It may involve just rolling and stretching, but this will help them develop the skills and strength they need to crawl. Having everything within easy reach will not encourage your baby to crawl.
Play with Older Siblings
Having older siblings can also reduce the desire to crawl. Older siblings often try to be helpful and kind by bringing their baby sibling toys to play with. And sharing is a wonderful skill for older siblings to have, but it doesn’t give your baby any incentive to crawl. Depending on the age of the sibling, you may be able to talk to them and explain how they can help their sibling. You can get them to encourage your baby to crawl by not always fetching things for them. In fact, they may come to see it as a game.
Babies also love to copy what you do. You can encourage your baby to crawl by getting down on the floor with them and showing them how to push themselves up off the floor. Those first few times your baby tries to push themselves up, you can provide some support under their chest. This lets them develop their strength gradually – and gives them confidence in what they are trying to do. Your baby will love to learn new tricks, especially when they see the delight in your face.
The demonstration doesn’t stop with push-ups. Once your baby has mastered the push-ups, teach them to rock backwards and forwards on their hands and knees by showing them how to do it. It might sound and feel silly but turn it into music time and use songs such as Row, Row, Row, Your Boat to help. Your baby will love watching you and trying to copy what you do. These moves will encourage them towards taking those first tentative movements across the floor.
Key to encouraging your baby to crawl is not letting them spend too much time in walkers, bouncers and other similar types of toys. These types of toys are great fun for your baby, but they provide support, so your baby isn’t developing their muscular strength. That strength is crucial for them to crawl.
All these tips can help you encourage your baby to crawl – and have some fun with your baby in the process. Remember that babies are all different and your baby will crawl when they are ready.