There is a lot of information about tummy time and all the excellent benefits but did you know benefits of crawling?
3. spinal alignment,
4. visual-spatial skills,
5. socio-emotional development.
6. Develops and encourages the left and right side of brain to work together
Crawling engages the baby’s whole body.
1) Strength, Balance and Spinal alignment-How?
When a baby crawls, he has to use his arms and legs to lift his trunk off of the floor. While working against gravity to move about, he is strengthening the muscles in his trunk, shoulders, arms, legs, and hands. Holding his wrists in an extended position and bearing weight on his hands while crawling develops the arches in his hands, influencing fine motor skill development. The action of crawling also plays a role in forming the curves of the spine, which are important for future spinal function.
2) Vision and Spatial Skills How?
Crawling also influences the development of visual skills. When crawling from one place to another, a baby frequently uses her “distance vision” to look ahead and set her sights on a goal. She then looks back at her hands, which requires her to adjust the focus of her eyes. These adjustments are good for training the eye muscles and improving binocular vision, which is the ability to use the eyes together as a team. Efficient binocular vision is necessary for the future skills of reading and writing.
3) Socio- emotional Development?
Crawling also influences an infant’s socio-emotional development. This means that positive and negative emotions are expressed more frequently and intensely as this skill develops. In fact, infants only develop a fear of heights after several weeks of experience with crawling. As a baby begins to move about independently, she has the freedom to set new goals, which results in increased opportunities to fulfill those goals, as well as new possibilities for failure. Setting goals and reaching them or failing at them affects emotional development and ultimately impacts a baby’s sense of autonomy and confidence.
4)Left and Right sides of the brain working together
When a baby crawls in the traditional manner, the right and left sides of the brain and body must work cooperatively together. This action is called cross-lateral integration, and it builds a foundation for skills that require motor coordination. However, many infants get around by rolling, bottom scooting, or crawling commando-style, and that is just fine. You can always play crawling games with your child later on to provide experience with cross-lateral integration.
Most parents look forward to the day when their infant begins to crawl, which typically occurs somewhere between 6 and 10 months.
Useful ways to practice with your baby:
• Spend lots of uninhibited on the floor, out of car seats, and baby chairs and carriers
• Resist holding your infant’s hands and “practicing” walking with him until he has had some experience crawling. There is always the possibility that this will encourage him to move
straight to walking and miss out on the crawling phase.
As a parent, what should you do if you notice that your baby is pulling up and beginning to take independent steps prior to crawling?
First of all, don’t panic! You can ensure that your little one experiences crawling in a variety of different way, so go ahead and allow her to explore in the ways that she naturally chooses.
You can also incorporate some of the following tips and techniques to encourage crawling:
• Roll up a thin towel or receiving blanket and position it under baby, providing support to his trunk. As baby is positioned on his hands and knees, physically guide him through the motions of rocking back and forth. This will sometimes “jump-start” crawling.
• Place your arm on the floor behind baby’s feet when he is on his hands and knees. This will give your little one a surface to push against. You can also slightly push against his feet to provide some forward motion.
• When baby is in the hands-and-knees position, sit in front of him and perform by making silly faces, or place fun and interesting toys just out of reach to encourage him to move forward.
• If baby has started taking a few steps, there are commercially available children’s tunnels that parents can purchase for crawling through during playtime.
• Also lots of fun….. to cut a hole in either end of a large cardboard box for play.
• Parents can also pretend to be a kitty cat or puppy dog, and encourage baby to chase them around as they both crawl.
• Homemade obstacle courses are also a fun way to encourage children to crawl over and under cushions, pillows, etc.
Crawling is NOT just for babies…
The physical benefits are plenty. Crawling boosts:
• Gross motor skills (large movements like
• Fine motor skills (refined movements, like
• Core muscles (help keep us upright correct our posture and prevent low back pain in adult hood)
These are just a few.
The development and refinement of these skills will assist your child later in life with activities such as running, jumping, writing, fastening clothes, and throwing balls. The strength they build also boosts their posture and prepares them for the skill of walking.
Here at Monkey Puzzle West Norwood we recognise and embrace all the benefits this skills and other gross motor movements provide. They will be accessed by all ages groups through carefully selected equipment and lots of fun play.