Most babies will start to make a move towards crawling somewhere between seven and ten-months-old. Keep in mind that the process of learning to crawl differs from one child to the next, but there are a few easy things you can do to encourage your little ones. Is your baby not crawling? Here’s what to do.
We asked Dr. Payal Adhikari, a board-certified pediatrician at Child and Adolescent Health Associates and expectant parents teacher at Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, to fill us in on the top things to keep in mind to set your little one up for crawling success.
Practice Tummy Time
If you have a baby not crawling, try tummy time. Start early, and do it often! Tummy time not only keeps the head round, but it builds up neck and core strength that are crucial for helping babies start moving.
Aim for 20 minutes per day and split that time up however you’d like (e.g. 2 minutes 10 times per day, or 5 minutes 4 times per day) – the more the merrier! The baby should be awake and you should be watching them at all times — Never leave a baby on their tummy unattended.
Transition to a Sleep Sack
Most babies love being swaddled from the start. It keeps them warm and cozy, just like the womb! However, you should transition from the swaddle to a sleep sack between two to three months, or sooner if they’re breaking out of it or rolling over. Sleep sacks keep babies warm, but also allow them to move, which builds up muscle strength.
Kids can see and reach much sooner than they can move, so use toys as motivation.
First step? Encourage them to roll over. During tummy time, place a toy to their side and slowly bring it over their head. When they start to follow it with their eyes, they’ll also try to follow it with their body!
When they’re at the stage where they’re starting to get on all fours, place a toy just in front of them so they can reach it with one hand. Alternate the hand you place the toy in front of. When they get the hang of it, slowly move the toy back so they have to reach farther. Soon, they will start to move their hands and feet to get to it!
Bounce in Moderation
While bouncers and other assisted seating (such as the Bumbo chair) are convenient (and definitely necessary at times!), use them in moderation. According to many physical therapists, these devices promote unnatural body positioning and inhibit the natural movements that promote motor development. When it comes to gadgets, less is more!