Babies grow up fast and go through an incredible amount of changes and developmental milestones within the first five years of their life… it can seem like just the other day your baby was able to sit up on their own when suddenly they’re getting ready to crawl!
When Do Babies Start To Crawl?
Most babies learn to crawl between the age six to nine months old. You may notice the first signs of crawling when your baby begins to rock back and forth on their hands and knees. When you see this behaviour, you can expect your baby to start crawling pretty soon… rocking is the foundation for crawling. Your baby may crawl backwards before they manage to master moving forwards and this is pretty common. Typically by nine months, your baby will be crawling like a pro - but if not, there’s no need for concern!
Your baby might be a commando crawler, also known as the belly crawl, pulling themselves across the floor with their arms. It may look awkward and you may have the urge to help your baby out, but leave them to their own devices, they’ll figure it out.
Why Won’t My Baby Crawl?
If your baby hasn’t reached that stage yet, you can still encourage them to try, making sure there’s a safe environment where they can freely practice moving around in all sorts of interesting ways, without injuring themselves. Take it a step further by placing some of their favorite toys just out of reach. This can motivate them to reach for their toy and hopefully make efforts to crawl towards it.
There are all sorts of moves and grooves your baby can get into when practicing crawling. There’s the commando crawl, the bottom scoot, the roll, the classic crawl, the tripod crawl, the bear crawl, the leapfrog and the crab crawl! And you thought crawling was just crawling!
For instance, a commando crawl is another way of saying belly crawl where a baby keeps their belly and legs on the floor whilst pulling themselves along with their arms. A bottom scoot is just what it sounds like; your baby will use his or her bottom to scoot along the floor! The classic crawl is exactly what you imagine when you hear the word “crawl”, where your baby crawls on their hands and knees.
The roll is when your baby rolls from their back to their tummy… and keeps going, repeating the movement again and again and making their way around in this way. This movement is typically a sign that your baby is almost ready to start crawling.
Help Your Baby Start Crawling
Before your baby can begin, they will need to develop some motor skills and strengthen the muscles needed for crawling.
The most important thing is that your baby feels secure playing on their stomach. Your newborn must also be able to push up onto all fours while being supported by hands and knees in order to crawl.
Make sure your baby gets lots of tummy time to help them develop the muscles and coordination needed to achieve this. Tummy time, as the title suggests, involves letting your baby spend some time on their tummy. This is something you can start doing right after birth. It's ideal to begin with a small amount of time every day, increasing it gradually as your baby's back and neck muscles develop.
When your baby becomes more active, you can introduce toys and rattles to play with while they are on their tummy. Never leave your baby unsupervised during tummy time, and always put your little one to sleep on their back.
Here are some things to do or keep in mind as your little one shows signs of becoming more mobile:
- Never leave your child unsupervised unless they are in a cot or another safe area. You need to be extra cautious if they're going to start crawling soon.
- This is also a wonderful opportunity to baby-proof your home if you haven't already. To prevent your baby from getting hurt once they can move freely, ensure harmful items are locked away, and furniture that can tip over is secured.
- If your home has stairs, you can eventually train your little one to climb them while always keeping an eye on them. As part of your baby-proofing, never leave children unsupervised near stairs and put baby gates at the top and bottom of the steps.
Simple Steps for Teaching Your Baby to Crawl
Your baby will only start crawling when they have built up the strength and coordination this takes, but there’s loads you can do to help your baby develop these skills and encourage exploration.
Here are a few ideas to help encourage your baby to crawl:
- Give your baby plenty of free time to play in a safe space on the floor, including lots of tummy time.
- Place toys or other favourite items just out of reach to encourage your baby to move forwards or to turn from a sitting position to grab hold of them.
- Set up an obstacle course with boxes or tunnels – or even just your arms – for your baby to crawl through
- Blow bubbles while your baby is on their tummy, and encourage them to try to pop them as they float past.
These exercises should get your baby excited about learning to crawl and see it as a new adventure. To help develop the coordination needed for crawling on all fours, you could try this exercise:
- Sit on the floor with your back against a wall or solid surface.
- Put your baby down on their tummy across your outstretched leg.
- With your leg still under your baby’s tummy, help them into a crawling position with legs bent and the knees and the palms of the hands on the floor.
- Rock your baby gently back and forth on their hands and knees. This will help them get used to the shift in weight from the knees to the hands.
- Sing a song in time to the movement to make this game even more fun for your little one!
After watching this video you will know what age babies start crawling and, most importantly, you’ll learn 7 key tips that will help you teach your baby to crawl.