Crawling is the term used to describe moving around the floor on hands and knees with the stomach up off of the ground. This type of mature movement is different from creeping, which is defined as baby dragging her body around with her stomach in direct contact with the ground.
Crawling typically appears after a baby has learned to creep on the floor. Don’t be surprised though if your baby skips creeping and pushes herself up onto her hands and knees and begins to attempt to crawl first. Most babies will acquire the ability to crawl around the nine to ten month mark. However, some babies begin to crawl as early as six or seven months. Others may take as long as twelve to thirteen months before crawling. If you are worried that your baby is not crawling, a conversation with your baby’s pediatrician would be in order. As an alternative, you may contact your local Early Intervention program and request a physical therapy evaluation to determine if some type of intervention is necessary. In the meantime try these simple techniques for immediate results.
Rocking front to back on hands and knees
- Place your baby on her stomach.
- Kneel behind your baby and gently but firmly grasp her around her trunk, with one of your hands on either side of her body.
- Gently use your fingers to raise her hips up off the ground and bring her knees under her trunk so that she is on her hands and knees.
- Use one of your hands for support under her trunk, if necessary.
- Gently rock her front to back while maintaining the hands and knees position.
- Once she is stable on her hands and knees, kneel on the floor in front of her and show her how much fun rocking on hands and knees is.
Reaching while on hands and knees
- Position your baby on her hands and knees as described above and support her under her trunk with one hand.
- Place a toy in front of the baby and tell her to reach for the toy with one hand.
- Increase the support under her trunk as needed to help her maintain her balance on both knees and one hand while she plays with the toy using the other hand.
- Allow her to play with the toy in this position for about one minute.
- Move the toy close to her other hand and encourage her to switch hands and play with the toy with her other hand while you provide support under her trunk as needed.
Crawling forward with assistance at hips
- Position your baby on hands and knees as described above, but this time place her favorite toy in front of her, just out of reach.
- Kneel on the ground behind her and gently move her right knee forward about 2″, then move her left hand forward 2″.
- Move her left knee forward 2″, then move her right hand forward 2″.
- Keep alternating her hands and knees for her until she reaches the toy.
- Move the toy out of reach and encourage her to move forward on hands and knees to get the toy once again.
- Provide assistance to her knees as needed to help her move forward.
- Practice crawling on the floor daily until your baby is able to crawl on her own.
In the next module of this training series I will discuss some simple tips and tricks to help improve your baby’s sitting balance.