Posts Tagged ‘crawling’

The Importance of Crawling

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Photo02291552Most parents can tell you approximately when each of their children hit the big developmental milestones. Smiling, rolling, walking, talking; all of these are dutifully recorded and happily chatted over with friends. One milestone, though, frequently seems to get overlooked and, in some cases, parents encourage their baby to skip it altogether – crawling.

By 9 months, more or less, baby should be displaying some sort of locomotion. For many, this starts with rolling, progresses into the arm propelled “army crawl,” and then morphs into full blown traditional crawling. Some babies crawl awkwardly, such as with arms and legs out of sync or even backwards, while other children skip the traditional crawl altogether. We’ve all heard friends brag “He looks like he’s going to skip crawling and go straight to walking!”

Crawling, though, may or may not be an inconsequential step. When I sat down to write about this, I was sure that crawling being important was a fact. I’d heard a few arguments that were extremely convincing. But, as is the way of the Internet, the opinions and arguments I’d come across were not the only ones. It turns out that the jury is out on the topic.   I found a number of sources that whole heartedly reject the idea. Some (such as here and here) argue that we have insufficient evidence to worry over a lack of crawling, while others go so far as to re-introduce crawling as a form of physical and occupational therapy to make up for time lost. Many point out that at various times in history, crawling was entirely discouraged and/or that there still exist today cultures where babies are not given the opportunity to crawl, yet show no ill effects.

So what did I learn in my research? That many people involved in the neurology or psychology will tell you that skipping crawling does not cause issues with brain development and that crawling therapies do not fix anything with brain development. Neurologically, other developmental issues may contribute to a child that doesn’t crawl, but it’s not skipping the crawl itself that does the harm. Skipping crawling was a symptom of an issue, not the source of it.

Physically, though, you may read a host of other opinions. According to some of my research, crawling benefits a baby by strengthening their core, shoulders, and wrists, by introducing binocular vision (looking ahead at a goal before looking down to move forward), by enhancing hand-eye coordination, by improving balance, and may even impact future penmanship and fine motor skills by opening and strengthening joints in the hand. All of these benefits, if true, would certainly seem like reasons to encourage crawling.

What should we, the well-meaning parents, take from all of this? Honestly, that tummy time is important. I know, you’re wondering how I just jumped backward from crawling to tummy time. Basically, it seems that when we began the “Back to Sleep” initiative to reduce the incidence of SIDS, we took away a lot of time our children spent on their stomach. In turn, we appeared to see an increase in the number of children who skipped traditional crawling and went straight to walking, yet there was not a measured difference in walking age between both groups. So if you’re concerned, your best bet is to allow for plenty of tummy time when baby is young, giving her the chance to increase core and neck strength, and then simply let your baby dictate her course from there. Play on the floor with her. Place toys slightly out of reach to encourage locomotion. And if you find that she pulls to stand and walks early, get a jump start on that child proofing!

Kate Cunha lives in the Pacific NW and is mom to one beautiful 3-year-old girl.

Is Crawling Important?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Is Crawling Important?We all want our babies to reach milestones “on time” and can sometimes forget that babies move at their own pace. Crawling is one of the major milestones that we can easily compare with other babies the same age and having a late crawler can be a little disheartening or worrisome. It’s important to remember that babies have their own time line and we can encourage them but they won’t hit milestones until they’re ready.  Is crawling really important or is going straight to walking perfectly fine?

Crawling is a lot more than just getting from point A to point B. The actual mechanics of it stimulates different areas of the brain, organizing neurons, creating important pathways and increasing communication between the left and right side of the brain.  It also happens to be their first attempt at hand eye coordination, which is especially important, as they get older for reading, writing and sports.

According to an article by Ohio Health many children are meeting their motor milestones later because of the push by the American Academy of Pediatrics to discourage letting babies sleep on their tummies. Since babies spend less time on their bellies their upper bodies aren’t developing enough strength for traditional hand and knee crawling.  The only way to strengthen those muscles are to spend more time doing tummy time and trying to make it as enjoyable as possible for them to be on their belly.

If your baby is a late crawler, don’t fret, there are lots of things you can do to encourage them to crawl. Babies love going through things, so those fun tunnels you’ve seen around serve a great purpose, or you can make your own tunnel obstacle course out of cardboard boxes. Playing hide and seek and chase are also fun games that encourage crawling. Keep on trying and making it fun for both of you!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.



What’s Normal? 6-9 Month Development

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

By now your little one is laughing, smiling and becoming more aware of the world around him or her. Your baby is nearly halfway to being a toddler, and the level of engagement is increased. You will see much more movement as inching along turns to full-fledged crawling, and if you have one of those vintage farm animal sound games, pull the string and watch as your bundle of joy delights in trying to mimic the sounds heard.

Because we all want to keep track of development, a good yardstick for measuring typical developmental milestones at this age includes the following:

Mobility: Babies start becoming mobile in the 6 to 9 month period, starting with scooting, then sitting on their own, and eventually crawling.

Verbal: Gentle coos turn to babbles and imitations.

Six to Nine Month Development

Social/emotional: Peeking out from behind a blanket or other object may become a favorite pastime somewhere around 6 to 7 months.

Fine motor skills: Your baby will start grasping, reaching and picking up objects, so keeps those small items out of reach because most end up in the mouth.

For many parents, this is the time most look forward to because bits and pieces of those little personalities start showing. This is also when most babies start moving around and exploring, so be careful to keep harmful objects out of the way and out of reach. And when your peg-leg crawler wears out the knees in their favorite footed pajamas, turn them into a cute romper for the summer!

Don’t worry if scooting doesn’t progress to crawling right away, or if your floor isn’t clean enough to eat off of. Just enjoy the progress, and unless you see significantly delayed activities, sit back and try to relax. Walking, running, and tantrums are just around the corner.

Remember, every baby develops at their own pace and the above are just general guides. It’s a safe bet the over/under on these milestones is a month or two. If you are concerned, tap the endless resources available to you by reaching out to your pediatrician, friends, other moms, and maybe even your own mother.

Gretchen Latham is a mother of one and lives and writes in Oklahoma City.