|why crawling is important |
Six reasons why crawling is important
Crawling offers babies more than just a (cute) way to get where they want to go. In fact, learning to crawl is commonly considered an important developmental milestone in a baby’s life.
And while some babies may skip the crawling phase entirely and go straight to walking, generally, most Australian babies will discover the benefits of getting about on all fours from around the age of six to 12 months.
A traditional crawl requires a baby to support his own weight with hands and knees while propelling himself in a forward motion. But babies aren’t limited to the one crawl and many adopt a variety of different crawling styles to achieve mobility. From the bum shuffle to commando-style, the crab glide to bear walk, how a baby adapts this important developmental phase may be as unique – and entertaining – as they are.
Getting about on all fours in the first year of life offers babies a wealth of positive and quantifiable benefits. Here we’ve listed just six reasons why crawling plays an important role in your baby’s development.
1. Physical development
As your baby starts to crawl they’re developing:
· gross motor skills - these are larger movements your baby makes with his arms, legs, feet or his entire body. These skills are important because they offer him a physicality he will need as he grows to be able to walk, run and jump.
· fine motor skills – these involve strengthening the smaller muscles in the body such as hands and fingers. They will be used down the track to grasp things, move the mouth and chew, write with a pen or pencil and even fasten clothing.
· balance – achieving balance is an essential physical requirement for your baby to gather both confidence and the ability to move into the next phase – walking.
· hand-eye coordination – required to use the eyes to direct attention and the hands to execute a task. This is essential to writing and even kicking a ball.
2. Spatial understanding
Crawling also offers opportunity for a baby to understand spatial concepts. This provide the child with a physical understanding and orientation of the physical world around them; their relationship with and position within it. For example, while a crawling bub often prefers to go ‘through’ things rather than ‘around’, with practice and experience, babies soon learn how to negotiate a more efficient path to their desired destination. This understanding will be of vital importance throughout their lives for self-preservation, navigation and problem solving.
3. Binocular vision
Your baby’s visual skills will develop in leaps and bounds on discovering that their favourite rattle can be near or far away. This is called binocular vision and involves your baby training his eyes to look off into the distance and then back at his hands while crawling or reaching for that rattle. We use binocular vision to calculate distances and make sense of what we see. It is a skill that helps us catch a ball, drive a car and copy things from a blackboard.
Left and right brain coordination is boosted by crawling, as the brain is required to process hearing, sight and movement all at the same time. So the more your baby practises crawling, the more synchronised and developed each of these essential skills will become. All must work together for baby to achieve mobility – left arm and right knee … one forward movement; right arm and left knee … another forward movement. But even as your baby is gliding along the floor, they are also using their developing eyesight and hearing to identify their desired destination.
A crawling baby is building self-confidence and making some of their first decisions. They take regular physical risks and with each success – and failure – discover both their potential and their limitations. It can be wonderful to watch your baby discover the world around them at this exciting stage of their development. As they become more experienced at crawling they will become apt at knowing when to slow down to avoid hurt, navigate a step or investigate obstacles in their path.
6. Physical strength
As baby starts to get more and more physical, discovering an exciting new independence on all fours, they are also gaining significant physical strength, which will prepare them for walking in a
few month’s time. When a baby starts to pull themselves up on furniture and stand up, the normal curve in their spine begins to develop and their lower back and leg muscles begin to strengthen. The more crawling the baby does, the more practised and prepared they will be to walk on their own two feet.
|7 Benefits of Crawling |