In my last blog post, 6 Reasons to Embrace Crawling, I delved into the essential brain-body training that takes place during the months a child crawls.
Knowing how important this developmental leap is, the question now remains… how can you actually help your child to crawl?
With the right information from the start, it’s actually pretty simple. And that’s because our children are intrinsically driven to crawl, as part of their evolutionary developmental wiring. We just need to learn to step back and allow for the magic to happen!
So here it is, the crawling process demonstrated before your very eyes.
With plenty of floor time, with room to wriggle and squirm, with time to build strength and endurance, a baby will commando crawl on their tummy for several months before getting up on hands and knees.
Look at me move! I’m using both sides of my body at the same time, an arm and a leg on opposite sides. This means that both sides of my brain are engaged, good practice for many tasks when I’m older. The floor feels nice under my tummy and sends lots of important touch messages to my brain. I love having the freedom to explore and am feeling very proud of my new abilities.
Rocking on Hands & Knees
With a safe space to move around freely, a commando crawler will eventually be able to defy gravity and get up onto their hands and knees. Welcome Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex!
With this transitional reflex in place, the arms are straight and the legs are bent but only while the head is looking forwards. As soon as the head moves down (as though to look at the hands), the arms bend and the leg straighten. “Whoops, I’m back on the floor, let’s try that again!”.
I’m rocking, rocking and rocking some more to get rid of my Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex. When it’s gone I’ll be able to stay up on hands and knees even when my head looks down.Try to be patient with me while I rock. Trust that I know when it’s time to start crawling.
Crawling on Hands & Knees
Now that a child’s rocking on all fours has been supported and left to evolve, forward motion can be achieved. Create safe spaces for exploration and have fun with this exciting new stage of life.
Ta-da! My Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex has now gone and I can stay strong on my hands and knees wherever I look. Wow, so this is what crawling is! I like it a lot!
To get crawling in motion:
Provide plenty of floor play, especially on the tummy, with room to wriggle and squirm
Limit the time spent in ‘containers’
Use prams and capsules/car seats as a way to get safely from A to B. When you arrive, give your baby the freedom to move by taking them out.
Avoid or use the following with caution: Walkers, jolly jumpers, rockers, bouncers and bumbo chairs. These restrict movement and often interfere with a child’s inbuilt blueprint for physical development.