It’s a big deal. Aside from uttering their first words, crawling is one of the most important baby milestones. If you’re waiting for your little one to get moving, you’ll be eager to hear that pitter-patter sometime soon.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can support your child and help them in their journey toward becoming mobile. Let’s take a look at ten simple tips that will give them everything they need to start this brand, new adventure.
10 Parenting Tips to Help Your Baby with Crawling
1. Avoid comparing your baby’s development
First up, let’s approach that big ol’ elephant in the room. The most common questions new parents ask themselves include “Is my baby crawling too soon?” or even, “Should I be worried my baby isn't crawling yet?”
While most babies start to crawl at between seven and 10 months, every child is different. One of the biggest mistakes you can make here is comparing your little one’s progress to other children.
“Although parents know that they shouldn’t compare their child’s development with others, it’s so hard not to!” says Dr Sarah Mundy, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Author of Parenting Through Stories on Instagram. “Comparisons add a huge amount of stress, particularly for first-time parents.”
“All children develop different skills at different times and, although it’s important to ask for help if you are really worried, most likely your child is just a bit of a later crawler. They will get there at some point. If your child is not quite there yet, try not to wish the time away - when crawling comes it’s a whole new ball game!” says Mundy.
2. Boost your baby’s tummy time
One of the easiest ways to support your baby’s crawling journey is to give them a whole load of tummy time. This activity helps to strengthen your little one’s back, neck, and shoulders, which all contribute towards them getting up on all fours.
Whenever you’re having some play-time with your baby during the day, you can encourage them to get onto their tummy. Be sure to supervise this activity so that you can make sure that your little one is safe at all times.
Of course, it’s also important to remember that tummy time should be a daytime-only activity. Whenever you put your baby down for the night, you should always do so on their back.
3. Make sure the area is safe and spacious
Before your baby gets crawling, they are going to need some space! Before having some tummy time with your little one, take a quick moment to prepare the area.
That may mean putting a play mat down, removing any obstacles (bye-bye, chair!) and generally clearing the area where they will be. When you’ve done all of the above, you can be certain that your little one will have the space to crawl and move around freely.
4. Play with fun toys (and put them out of reach)
Does your little one have a favourite toy? Perhaps there’s a cuddly animal that they can’t take their eyes off, or maybe a ball that lights up their face when you get it out.
Either way, one of the simplest ways to encourage your baby to crawl is to use these toys. When your child hits the 7-10 month mark, you will notice that they start reaching to grab things.
Use this to your advantage by putting their favourite toys just out of their reach!
For example, if your little one is obsessed with a ball, you could play with it for a while and then roll it away from them. Their instinct will be to follow the ball in any way that they can, which may spur them on to pull themselves up and start crawling. Give it a go!
5. Hold your baby in a crawling position
While your baby is having some tummy time, it’s the perfect opportunity to show them how to get into the crawling position. Be as gentle as possible when you’re trying this for yourself.
Simply support your child’s abdomen and lift them up so that they are in the crawling position. This quick and easy hack allows them to familiarise with the position and general feeling of crawling. That way, they will be more likely to do it for themselves.
6. Avoid too much time in the baby seat
As your baby’s muscles start to develop, they will have a natural interest in playing, moving around, and holding onto things.
However, to do all of the above, you should make sure that they have enough play time during the day. When your baby is in their seat (or any other type of restraint), they aren’t getting the freedom they need to explore.
Scheduling regular play time periods is one of the smartest ways you can avoid this issue. While it can be hard to make time for everything during the day, having a solid routine will mean that your little one gets all of the play time that they need.
7. Use a mirror to help encourage them
Oooh look, something shiny! As any parent out there knows, babies love mirrors! So, why not use that fundamental fact to your advantage?
One of the simplest ways to help your baby learn to crawl is to use a mirror. When your child is having some tummy time, safely prop a mirror up in front of them about a metre away.
Your baby will want to take a closer look at their reflection and will be fixated on it. That’s good news when it comes to their crawling development. Chances are, your baby will make moves toward the mirror, however they can. That may involve rocking, rolling or even getting up and trying to crawl. Try this trick and then watch their progress.
8. Show them how it’s done!
This next tip may feel a bit silly, but it’s worth a go. If you want to help your baby start crawling, get down on your hands and knees. Showing your little one the way to crawl will not only entertain them but may also help them get started.
While you’re enjoying some play time with your baby, make crawling a central theme. You can crawl around them, play games and entertain them. You never know—they might just start copying you.
9. Try a baby massage now and then
Throughout this period, your baby’s muscles will be developing; starting in the neck, then the upper body, and finally the lower body. To support this ongoing development, why not treat your little one to a baby massage?
Not only will this help support your child’s muscular development but it also provides a bonding opportunity too. Massaging your child gives you some extra quality time with your little one and can be quite relaxing. The next time you have a moment, try it out.
10. Don’t put too much pressure on your baby
Feeling impatient? While you may be eager for your baby to reach this developmental milestone, the last thing you want to do is pile on the pressure.
Whenever you’re having some play time with your child, it should be fun—for both them and you. If you’re continuously trying to get your baby to crawl, you might find that it’s anything but that.
While it’s perfectly fine to encourage your child to crawl, that shouldn’t always be the central focus of your time together. Should your little one become irritated or start to cry, you might want to take things down a few notches.
Much like falling in love, this is likely to happen when you least expect it. Relax and allow your child to take their time.
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