In our world today where life is very busy, our little ones often spend a lot of time in the buggy, car seat, bouncy chairs, baby walkers or baby bouncer. Time spent in this way, whilst necessary and sometimes stimulating does not allow them to explore and find strategies to learn to crawl. Encouragement and stimulation are important at all stages of our children’s development. We encourage parents to stimulate their babies as much as possible during this stage of development because crawling assists the development of the nervous system.
It works on several systems in the following ways:
At sensory level giving tactile information (textures, temperature, hardness or softness of the surface) not only on their hands but also on their knees, and feet is important.
As the head is higher now, baby can see new objects, and focus on new goals, so they are stimulated to reach for new objects.
At motor level as baby gets better at crawling their stability will begin to improve, making the movements more rhythmic and harmonic. The typical crawling movement when one arm goes forward and the opposite knee follows is called cross pattern this movement is a key step into coordination.
The visual system also benefits from crawling because this movement requires the baby to focus in a specific way. For this reason, most babies that suffer Strabismus (congenital eye deviation) will not crawl. This specific focus will help develop the coordination between eye and hand that will be needed in the future for sports and for reading.
The vestibular system is the system which gives us balance. This system will be challenged to adapt when the baby starts trying to crawl. Before crawling is achieved, as a baby starts to move forwards and backwards or even starts to creep, this system will need to adapt quickly. An important tool for future milestones.
The musculoskeletal system crawling will prepare hips for the standing up position in a progressive way, strengthening all the muscles around to give stability to the hip joints. It will also increase physiologic curves in the spine, that until this point are not very evident and will strength the tiny muscles that give stability helping prevent future back problems.
Crawling also has a huge effect on the psychomotor development. It is a stage where the baby, for the first time, makes a voluntary opening to the environment. This aspect will make neural connections in the frontal lobe responsible for developing empathy, self-reflection, etc…
If you want to know how best to facilitate this milestone or you want to look a little more closely at your child’s development book an appointment in the children’s clinic and will help your child to reach their full potential.