So your baby has mastered holding her head up and sitting up without support. Now it’s time to move onto another milestone, crawling. In this article we’ll go over some ways on how to teach your baby to crawl.
Between 6-10 months old your baby will show signs that she is ready to start crawling. Some of those signs could be rocking back and forth on her hands and knees or trying to grab things that are not within her each. Whatever sign you notice that shows she’s ready to get moving, try these steps that will help get her crawling in no time.
Tummy time is a great exercise that will strengthen your baby’s trunk (torso muscles) which will prepare her for crawling. Strengthening her neck and limbs will prepare her to hold her head up and get her arms and legs underneath her.
The earlier you start tummy time the better. If your baby is an infant you can practice this exercise by laying your baby across your lap on their belly. As your baby gets older (around 3 months) you can do tummy time on a blanket on a firm surface.
Try putting your baby in different positions while doing tummy time. Such as 5 minutes or so on her left side and then 5 on the right. This will help her strengthen different neck muscles and help in preparation of rolling over.
If your baby is like mine she’ll scream during tummy time. If she does, don’t stop tummy time completely. This will only prolong her training in getting her ready to crawl. Reduce the time you have her on her tummy to 5 minutes (if she’ll stand it that long!) and increase it from there.
You can also make it more fun for your baby if you lay on your back and place your baby tummy down on your belly. This way she can see your face and have an immediate positive experience once she lifts her head.
When you have your baby on her tummy put some of her favorite toys in front of her just out of reach. This will encourage her to reach for her toys and in turn get her to move in order to play with them.
Something else that you can do is set a mirror on the ground in front of her. Safely set it up where you are holding it, or somewhere stable so she can’t pull it on top of her.
Once your baby is consistent in pushing herself up and even scooting or bear crawling, another exercise you can do is practice turning. While she is on the floor you can place her favorite toys on the ground, like before, but this time set them up around her.
When doing this with my daughter, I set her up as if she was in the middle of a clock and I set the toys around her as the ‘3’, ‘6’, ‘9’, and ‘12’. That way she could go straight to her first toy and then turn to get to her next toy and so on.
While trying to get your baby to move it is helpful if you dress her down. This will help your baby move more freely without having her arms and legs restricted. And also keeping her feet, knees, and elbows free will help her get traction when she is trying to push up or use her knees to push forward.
Using jumpers, bouncers, and swings are not necessarily movement encouraging devices. These items keep your baby constrained, they have their purpose, mostly entertainment, but when you are trying to get your baby crawling, you want to keep her out of these as much as possible.
Help In Positioning
Your baby might be able to get up on all fours but she might not be crawling on all fours. Instead she might be bear crawling, sliding, rolling, to get to where she needs to go. To encourage her to get her legs underneath her here are a few tricks you can try.
First, you can help her by gently lifting up on her bottom and letting her tuck her legs underneath her. Make sure that she is stable on her hands before you let go or help support her by holding onto her tummy.
Another trick is rolling up a small towel or a receiving blanket and putting it underneath your baby’s belly. This helps teach your baby to keep her belly off the ground while teaching stability and strengthening their trunk, arms, and legs.
The third thing you can do is put her favorite toys in front of her and then set your baby with either you or something behind her. Find something sturdy because you are going to want herto use that object (or you) to push off of. This will teach her to use her legs when wanting to propel forward.
Create A Safe Environment
Never leave your baby alone during tummy time or anytime she is practicing a new motor skill. You don’t want your baby to crawl or roll off of anything or pull anything down if she is mobile.
If your baby gets tired while on her tummy and has not learned to roll over on her own, put her on back before letting her fall asleep. This will reduce the risk of SIDS.
If you have other/older children in the house. Make sure you’re practicing tummy time in a place where other children won’t step on your baby.
As my daughter started getting more mobile I realized that my baby-proofed house wasn’t so baby-proof. So I started putting pillows up as walls next to hard furniture such as toy boxes, corners of couches, etc.
Another good practice for when your baby is moving from A to B is to make sure there are not any cords or strings (I even removed drawstrings from my daughter’s clothes) so that she can’t get hung up on anything or pull anything down.
Keep The Faith
When learning how to teach your baby to crawl there are a couple of things to keep in mind. One is to be consistent, make sure you are continually giving her enough time on her tummy, time to explore, roll over, etc.
Be encouraging during this time, maybe instead of putting toys down for her to move to, how about you being the object and celebrate as she gets closer. Learning a new milestone is hard, frustrating, and tiring for your baby so make it fun and positive.
Which brings me to my next point. Milestones are estimates. 6-10 months is just an average time babies begin to crawl. If your baby is not crawling by this time don’t panic. Just remember all babies are different and hit milestones at different ages. If she is still not crawling by a year you can talk with your pediatrician and she can offer you some ideas on getting your baby to crawl.
Did you find this article helpful? If so let me know in the comments below!