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Crawling is an important developmental stage in your baby’s life. The mechanics of crawling stimulate different areas of the brain – areas that are critical to future learning.

Crawling enhances your baby’s development by:

  • stimulating brain activity through repetitive movement, and thus developing cognitive processes such as concentration, memory and comprehension;
  • strengthening balance, muscle tone and hand/eye co-ordination, which are necessary for future reading, writing, and physical activities;
  • improving left and right brain co-ordination as both hands, legs, eyes and ears are required to work in synchronisation;
  • building confidence as the child determines where he/she wants to go, moves in that direction, and thus, achieves their goal;
  • stimulating abstract thinking skills as your child realises their position in the environment, and anticipates and avoids obstacles;
  • providing them with many hours of enjoyment, and sensory stimulation, as they explore their surroundings.
Crawling begins with your baby having time on his/her tummy. Since the realisation that sleeping a baby on their back dramatically reduces their chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), many parents have been hesitant to give their baby necessary ‘tummy time’. This has directly resulted in flat spots on babies’ heads, flaccid neck muscles and poor head control in some babies. Tummy time, during waking hours, is vital for the development of strong neck and shoulder muscles, and head control, as the baby is encouraged to lift his/her head in order to observe the world around them. Make tummy time fun in the early months by lying your baby on your chest in a semi-upright position, or propping them up with a rolled towel under their arms. Once Baby has mastered the head lifting skill, you may like to encourage forward movement by placing a toy, or yourself, in front of, but slightly out of his/her reach. You’ll be surprised at how quickly, and early, the reaching, grasping, pulling, and pushing-up-onto-all-fours skills can be developed and achieved, with a little coaxing and persistence.

Remember to baby proof your home. Once your baby shows the initial signs of movement, it’s imperative you take quick action as full mobility is swift. Ensure stairways are gated, and fragile and dangerous objects are out of reach, as it won’t be long before he/she is pulling him/herself up on the furniture.

Most babies learn to crawl between 6-10 months old, and may continue beyond their first birthday. Babies’ crawling efforts can be frustrated by a multitude of environmental obstacles as their sensitive knees come into contact with harsh surfaces in and around your home. Polished floors and tiles make them slip and slide. Carpets can cause friction burns and redness. Pavers and concrete produce scrapes and grazes, or unnecessary strain on their developing muscles as they compensate by moving on hands-and-feet-with-bottom-in-the-air. ‘Comfy Crawlers’ can alleviate all these painful situations by providing traction, padding and comfort as your baby explores his/her expanding world. By securing ‘Comfy Crawlers’ over your baby’s clothes you can also avoid wear and tear. You’ll be glad you did - they’ll give you peace-of-mind!

Remember, every child is unique, and will develop at their own pace. Enjoy every moment!

Copyright 2005
Claudia Savic B Ed, DpT ECh

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