Crawling is one of the major developmental milestones for babies, but it’s also an important in their learning experience too. Here we explore how babies learn through crawling.
The exact stage at which a baby masters the art of crawling varies, as every baby is different. Before they’re able to crawl, babies first have to learn how to sit up on their own unaided; as their muscles strengthen and they become more able to explore their own ability to move, then crawling will start happening. This is generally between the ages of about six and 12 months. Some babies will start crawling without too much difficulty at all, but others might find it easier to shuffle along on their bottoms instead, or even to slither along on their stomach. In some cases babies even skip crawling altogether and move straight on to walking.
Learning to crawl is quite a learning experience in itself for babies. Discovering that they have the ability to move their body in new ways is exciting, although it can take considerable practice over and over again before it is fully mastered. At first your baby will realise that they can be down on the floor on their hands and knees and will probably test the waters by simply rocking their body on the spot. It can take days or weeks of practice before they realise that rocking can in fact give them the necessary ability to push their body forward and move.
Crawling and Learning
When babies have mastered the art of crawling, they’ll be no stopping them! As a parent, you’ll have to keep a close eye on your child, as crawling opens up a whole new world of opportunities and adventure and your child will typically be crawling wherever and whenever they can.
The transition to crawling is a major step in their development and can aid their learning process in many ways. For example, crawling helps to develop a child’s sense of balance, helps the development of key muscles and it helps their hand and eye co-ordination. A good hand-eye co-ordination is really important for learning, as it will later help them when they come to learning to read and write.
The ability to crawl opens up a child’s environment, which in turn aids their learning in many ways. They learn about their own ability to move, how crawling along on their hands and knees propels them forward to new areas and how this gives them more opportunities to discover new things, gain new experiences and learn about their own ability and the world around them.
Exploration of their immediate environment is really important – not only for helping them learn about the rooms of a home and the objects within them, but also how things work. Given half a chance, babies will be keen to touch and feel things, press buttons, feel different surfaces and get up to any mischief they can. If a baby is a bit of a reluctant crawler – and some are – then placing an interesting looking object or toy a bit away from them on the floor is one good way in which you can encourage them to crawl, as they’ll hopefully be tempted to get in reach of the toy or object.
Whilst it’s of course great for them to learn new things and touch and feel different objects and surfaces, safety is vital. As soon as babies are crawling, you’ll have to be even more aware of safety and ensure that the floors are clear of small objects that could accidentally be swallowed, sharp objects that could cause injury or plugs that could easily be pulled out and fingers stuck into the electrical sockets.
As long as your home is safe though, there’s no major reason to worry when your child begins to crawl. It represents a key stage in their early learning development, gives them the vital change to explore their environment more and the chance to plenty more about their own abilities and skills.