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5 Reasons Crawling Is Important for a Child’s Development

Young child crawling on the floor

In the first few exciting months of a child’s life, parents are eager to see them learn to crawl and eventually take their first steps. Seeing a baby grow into these vital stages leads to beautiful memories crucial for the child’s pediatric development process. Crawling means more than your child getting older. This advancement in movement also leads to beneficial social, mental, and physical developments in every baby’s life.

Exploring the importance of crawling for your child’s development and the importance of crawling for brain development, discover how you can help them begin this exciting stage of life.

Five Reasons Why Crawling Is Important for Your Baby

Crawling and pediatric development go hand in hand as your child grows physically and mentally. Whether you notice them begin to support their head weight more often or they enjoy playing on the floor with their toys, these could very well be signs that your little bundle of joy is ready to take on crawling.

Knowing the importance of crawling before walking and preparing for this exciting milestone in your child’s life lets you take this process slowly. Take a few minutes to read why crawling is important for your baby and their development to make the most of this new journey.

1. Develop Strength in Muscles and Joints

There is a point in a baby’s early development when they still need your support to lift their head. Babies can start supporting their weight independently as their muscles grow and their joints can flex freely on their own.

Babies typically begin to experiment with lifting their own heads around 6 months old using their growing muscles. They start steadily supporting their weight and begin their crawling journey in the following months as their muscles and joints develop even more. With a little practice comes a strong baby who can move around as they please.

2. Fine Motor Benefits

Crawling is an excellent practice for growing babies when honing in on their fine motor skills. The stage of rolling to crawling allows a child to develop more precise movements, allowing their thoughts to turn into actions. With more practice in crawling to their intended destination, your baby can naturally improve their fine motor skills as a way of communicating through movement!

One of the greatest benefits of crawling for your baby is enhancing the following fine motor skills:

  • Lifting and turning their neck.
  • Stretching their back muscles.
  • Improving hand-eye coordination.
  • Flexing shoulder movements.
  • Using their hands and knees to steer them in the right direction.

3. Physical and Neurological Coordination

Similar to how babies’ movements communicate their curiosities or needs, crawling strengthens the connection between physical actions and neurological communication.

A child’s brain is fascinating, especially during their first year of life! The neurons on both halves of the brain create trillions of connections that relay muscle memory, experiences, and forming thoughts. As your baby develops during these early stages of life, these neurons communicate with each other across the brain. These messages turn ideas into actions, such as seeing a toy across the room and moving to retrieve it.

Practicing crawling with your baby can help strengthen the relationship between your child’s physical and neurological coordination so they can communicate through refined movements.

baby crawling on the floor

4. Binocular Vision

When babies learn how to crawl, their eyes are open to a new world of surroundings. During their first few months of life, they depended on you to support their head, meaning their vision was typically on you and only a select number of other objects in their view.

Exposing them to the beauty of the world around them is one of the greatest benefits of crawling. The binocular vision they were once accustomed to blossoms into new scenery they can now move their heads around to see.

When their vision expands, so does their curiosity, which is one of the most exciting moments to see unravel as a parent.

5. Sensory Benefits

Exploring their surroundings is an efficient way for babies to understand the role of their senses. Babies have more limited hearing, tasting, touching, seeing, and smelling senses since they don’t have much independence from their everyday care quite yet.

Luckily, crawling allows their curiosity to run wild as they learn different textures on the floor, understand the height of objects, and several other sensory awareness opportunities.

It’s completely normal for parents to keep a close eye on their babies when crawling for the first time, especially to monitor safety around sharp corners or small objects. You can also encourage their freedom to explore with sensory play that improves their cognitive, social, and mobility growth. Activities as simple as playing outside or with safe household items can boost the sensory skills that benefit their overall pediatric development.

Are There Different Types of Crawling?

You might notice many different styles of crawling during your child’s first stages of independent movements. Babies tend to learn how to crawl from imitating others or finding ways to move quickly in the most comfortable ways.

In some cases, different crawling techniques outside of the typical hands and knees crawling can impact a child’s physical and neurological coordination. Try to encourage hands and knees crawling to ensure your child continues developing their cognitive, physical, and social skills naturally.

Some common types of crawling to look out for include the following:

  • The bottom scoot: This crawl type is when the baby only uses their hands to scoot backward or forward with their bottom on the ground.
  • The bear crawl: The bear crawl is almost the same as crawling on hands and knees. Instead, the child crawls using their hands and feet while their knees hardly bend or touch the ground.
  • The crab crawl: Similar to a crab’s inability to move forward, a child might use their hands to scoot sideways while sliding their bottom on the floor.

How to Help My Baby Crawl

Babies typically begin to crawl around 7 months old or a bit later, depending on their growth. Some babies skip the crawling stage altogether and move straight to walking. Since there are numerous benefits to your child’s development process from learning to crawl independently, we recommend paying close attention to the importance of crawling before walking.

If you think your baby could use an extra nudge to start crawling on their own, take a look at the following ways you can learn how to help your baby crawl:

  • Encourage tummy time: Placing babies on their tummies on the floor when playing or interacting with others is vital to encouraging crawling. More practice for your baby on their stomach builds their neck, back, and shoulder strength to hold their weight up independently. Once they are used to supporting their bodies, they can feel more comfortable starting to move around. Before you know it, your baby will be crawling on their own in no time.
  • Demonstrate crawling: Babies are impressively fast learners. Since the world is brand new to their eyes and minds, babies use imitation to learn new actions and behaviors. Child development research has shown that babies may imitate their parents’ reactions to physical or emotional situations, which helps their social skills develop. Take advantage of this crucial learning opportunity by crawling in front of your child. Moving around on your hands and knees can demonstrate the same movements to your baby, who can learn from your actions.

Pediatric Movement Development

If your child could use a little extra support during this exciting milestone, Orlando Children’s Therapy, a part of Kids SPOT’s family of companies is here to help! Our pediatric physical therapy services help your little loved one reach their goal of crawling, walking, and moving around independently. With the help of our caring and experienced staff, your child can work through effective goals that help them accomplish everyday tasks with ease.

Each session with Orlando Children’s Therapy is individualized to meet your child’s unique physical needs. Developmental delays and muscle imbalance can impact their crawling stage, and we will be there every step of the way to reach this exciting life milestone.

Request an appointment with us today, or call now for more information.