Usually at some point after the age of about 6 months, babies are beginning to move. Crawling however may not start until they are anywhere up to about 12 months old. While crawling is an important skill for your baby, and a big milestone in their development, your baby will crawl when they are ready.
It is a a rather complex process that your little one needs to master, so avoid comparing your little one with other babies who have already begun crawling! To be able to crawl, your little one needs to be able to develop strength in their arms, legs and body as well coordinate movement between their arms and legs.
Learning to crawl relies on the mastery of many other skills too. Each new skill your baby learns, builds on all the previous skills they have learnt, with each one being more complex than the last. Skills they may already have learnt include:
- Controlling and supporting their head
- Moving their arms
- Sitting unsupported
- Rolling over
- Kneeling on all fours - holding their own weight
While all children grow and develop at different rates and no two children will meet their developmental milestones at the same times, there are things you can do to help your little one become ready to crawl. Here are our top five tips to help get your little one on their way!
- Tummy Time is one of the most important things you can do for your baby. Place your baby on their stomach several times each day. Tummy time is essential for many future skills including crawling, as it helps to strengthen baby's head and neck as well as their arms and leg muscles.
- Play with your little one at their level, by singing, dancing and interacting with them. Try some ideas from the folk at Gymbaroo through this video series called Active Babies Smart Kids.
- Encourage reaching by placing a favourite toy just out of baby's reach during tummy time.
- Sit your baby upright on the floor, and move a ball or favourite toy in front of them. This encourages your baby to follow the toy with their eyes. Sometimes they will lean to reach for it and grasp it.
- Avoid using devices such as Baby Walkers which can actually delay your little ones start to crawling or walking and are known to cause the injuries of many babies each year.
Once your baby is crawling, they will be able to get to get their hands on objects and furniture that had previously been unreachable and could be dangerous. Before your baby starts crawling is the best time to begin to baby proof the house.
Try not to rush your little one, remember they will reach each milestone when they are ready. But if your baby is 12 months or older and isn’t crawling, or if you’re concerned about any areas of your baby’s development, you might want to contact your doctor or child and family health nurse for advice.