Crawling is an exciting milestone for you and your baby; not only does it give them a little freedom to start exploring their surroundings it also allows them to learn how to play independently. Now of course, every baby is different and develops at their own pace, but it doesn’t stop us parents looking forward to the day our little one makes their first move across the floor.
Here’s what to expect when it comes to crawling; from signs your baby is trying to crawl to the fun little games you can try to cheer them on – we’ve got you covered!
WHEN DO BABIES START CRAWLING?
Generally your baby will start crawling at around 7 – 10 months. However, not all babies crawl; some may simply shuffle around on their bottoms using a hand behind to propel themselves forward, or some may skip the crawling stage altogether and go straight to walking! It’s completely dependant on your baby, so don’t worry if your little one still isn’t crawling by 10 months.
Tummy time is a great way to get a head start on crawling right from day one. You can start to incorporate tummy time from 0-2 weeks by placing them on your chest for some skin on skin bonding.. From 3 weeks onwards, tummy time on the floor has been proven to help develop core, neck and shoulder muscle strength – the perfect activity for getting those tiny muscles working before your baby tries to crawl. You can read all about tummy time and play here.
SIGNS YOUR BABY IS TRYING TO CRAWL
Your baby will likely start to try moving by themselves shortly after they have learnt to sit well without any support. The classic signs that your little one is getting ready to crawl are:
- Doing mini push ups with their arms whilst they are lying on their tummy
- Imitating swimming movements with their arms and legs whilst laying on their tummy
- Rocking back and forth whilst sitting up
The NHS does advise that if you’re worried your baby isn’t showing any signs of moving by 12 months, ask your healthcare visitor for advice.
BABY CRAWLING STYLES
Once your little one starts to crawl, there are many different styles they may adopt. There isn’t a right or wrong style for your baby to choose, so don’t worry if they aren’t doing a specific move from below, the important thing to remember is that they are working towards moving independently which is the ultimate goal after all!
- The Classic
This is the most commonly known type of crawl; your baby will be on all fours moving their legs and arms in opposition. Your baby might start off a little shaky at first, but don’t worry, they’ll get the knack of it after some practice and be crawling around in no time.
- The Commando
Similar to the classic, however your baby’s tummy will stay flat on the floor and they will use their outstretched arms and legs to propel them forwards.
- The Bum Shuffle
Trust us, this type of crawl is adorable to watch! The bum shuffle is where your baby will be sitting somewhat upright and dragging their little nappied bottom around the room, using their hands to pull them across.
- The Bear
Your baby will be on all fours with a bear crawl, the only difference being from the classic will be that their legs and arms will be fully extended, meaning their bums will be in the air – you’ll have yourself a little bear cub roaming around.
- The Backwards Shuffle
It’s very common for babies to adopt a backwards motion when they first start to crawl. Don’t worry, they’ll get the hang of forward movement eventually, but in the meantime it’s definitely entertaining to watch!
Amelie was quite late with moving around, then one day at around 9 months she was sitting on her play mat one minute then walking the next, I couldn't believe it!'
HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOUR BABY TO CRAWL
Once your baby has made those first few shuffles, why not incorporate some fun games into your play time to build their confidence, and encourage more crawling:
- Whether it be a small ball or a baby toy that rolls, moving something towards, and away from your baby will help them to learn about changing direction whilst crawling.
- You may have already noticed but babies are fascinated by their own reflection. Try placing a small mirror in front of your baby, and as they try and reach out for it, move the mirror away and they will try to crawl towards it.
- Playfully chasing your baby around the house will not only encourage them to move at a faster pace, but will surely have them in fits of giggles for you to enjoy.
- Place items on the floor like bubble wrap, wrapping paper, or anything that crinkles really! New sounds and textures will encourage your little one to move independently.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the wonders of crawling. Pretty soon your baby will be moving around the house confidently to explore their new surroundings – they grow up so fast don’t they!
For help when your baby has begun to move around more freely, check out our top tips on how to baby proof your home.