There is an old saying, “You have to crawl before you can walk.” This basically means you have to master the basics before you can move forward. And this couldn’t be more true when it comes to babies and their development.
Crawling is such an important part of a child’s development for several reasons.
- Balance System – In order to walk and eventually run, your child first needs to know how to crawl, because crawling enhances a child’s balancing system. A baby is using so many different muscle groups when crawling. Each muscle is getting stronger and helping your baby to balance. Remember, there is a reason they call them toddlers, because they are often toddling along about to topple over! The more secure your baby is with crawling, the more confident they will be when walking.
- Independent Movement – For the first months of your baby’s life, they are carried everywhere. They don’t get to decide where they go. But once they begin to crawl, their whole world opens up. This independence is critical for your baby’s development.
- Coordination – Just like with balancing, your baby’s coordination will vastly improve the more your baby crawls. Your baby’s brain has to work hard to tell all of the different parts of the body to move. Crawling is critical for hand-eye coordination.
- Problem Solving – You’ve probably never thought about how crawling can help your baby learn to problem solve, but the truth is it really does. This is because crawling presents challenges for your baby. Your baby has never experienced these types of challenges before. For example, if the toy they want is across the room, the baby has to figure out how to get there. Or if there is an obstacle in the way, the baby has to figure out how to crawl around the obstacle.
Many parents don’t want to see their baby struggle or are afraid their baby may get hurt when first starting to crawl. Those are valid feelings, but carrying your baby everywhere won’t help them learn these critical skills.
It’s okay if they struggle at first. This is how they learn. Their balance system and coordination are just kicking in. It will take time for them to develop those key muscles.
It is always a good idea to remove any objects that may get in your baby’s way. You can add padding to a coffee table with blunt edges to ensure your baby won’t bonk their head.
Remember, crawling is a key part of a baby’s development. The more they crawl, the stronger they get and the more confident they will be!