How should I handle crawling?

Crawling is an important stage in development, and parents watch with delight as their child becomes mobile. Although some babies start crawling before they are six months old, most begin between six and nine months, and some never crawl, going from sitting to walking without the middle step. Because children develop at their own pace, each child will begin to crawl when she’s ready. But if a child has not begun by the time she’s nine months old, you may want to talk to a pediatrician about her motor development.

Some parents wonder if they can motivate their baby to crawl by putting attractive toys just out of her reach. Rather than help, this may only frustrate her if she’s not able to start moving. There’s really no need to encourage crawling because children have an innate desire to get to many different objects and explore their surroundings. As soon as she’s developmentally ready and able to extend herself, she’ll start crawling.

When your child first begins to move, you may see her “belly crawl” across the floor. She’ll move backwards or forwards, pulling with alternating arms while her belly stays flat on the floor. Later, she’ll get up on all fours, rocking a little. Eventually, she’ll move slowly on all fours, mastering the movement until she becomes a proficient crawler.

At that point (if not earlier), since your child will be able to reach many potentially dangerous objects, you will have to baby proof your home, an often time-consuming and frustrating task. You should put plants, small toys, and fragile items out of reach, but you should not stifle your child’s natural curiosity about the objects she sees. As long as harmful items are out of the way, let her crawl to the curtains, touch the table leg, or reach for a toy. That’s how she learns about her world. Of course, during this stage you’ll need to keep your floors clear of fuzz, small objects, and crumbs that could end up in your child’s mouth.

You will naturally be concerned about stairs once your child is mobile. The best way to be sure she’s safe is to use gates at the top and bottom of the stairway. If you have carpeting on the steps and bottom landing, you may want to attach your gate a few steps up so your child can crawl up and down the short distance safely. However, if your landing is not carpeted, you will want to attach the gate to the bottom step to minimize harmful falls. She will quickly learn to climb the stairs and will enjoy going up, but most children don’t come down steps safely until they’re one and one-half to two years old. That’s why it’s so important to close the top gate each time you pass through. Once you’ve made your child’s environment safe, you can relax and let her enjoy crawling.

Picture Credit : Google