Crawling is one of the important basic skills babies should master. It helps them grow stronger, develops their motor skills, helps them explore their environment and improves their visual skills.
Babies who have been given lots of “tummy time” on a soft blanket on the floor, during their first few months will have developed the muscles in their necks, arms and shoulders and, with a little encouragement, will learn to crawl within a short time. If a parent spends only as few minutes a day in directed play, the little one will soon be up exploring.
Here’s how to proceed.
1. Lay the baby on his stomach on a soft blanket on the floor.
2. Get a bathroom towel and roll it into a cylinder or sausage-shape. If you prefer, you can buy a soft but firm toy in the shape of a cylinder, but a towel works just as well.
3. Gently take the baby’s elbows and move them back toward his body. It will look as if he wants to lie on his elbows.
4. Place the towel under the baby’s upper body so that his shoulders are raised and his arms hang over the cylinder, with his elbows resting on the floor.
5. This allows the baby to feel his weight resting on his arms and legs. He also has a better vantage point from which to discover his surroundings.
6. Lie down directly in front of the baby, with your face near his. Talk to him, amuse him, sing to him, encourage him; keep his attention focused on you. As his muscles strengthen, he will soon try to push himself up and support his weight on his arms and his knees.
7. Soon you will see your little one supporting his body on knees and straight arms, ready to crawl.
8. As soon as he is strong enough to support himself alone on his hands and knees, encourage him to move, perhaps by putting a colorful new toy a few feet away. Sit down beside the toy and call him to you. He should crawl over.
Three to five minutes twice a day will be enough to produce results in a short time, depending on his age and strength. It’s important to keep this activity time fun. It’s a chance to forge a strong bond between parent and child by spending quality time together.
Most babies have mastered the skill of crawling by the time they are eleven months old. If your child has not, it’s a good idea to mention the fact to your paediatrician during you next visit.