Most parents are so happy to have baby home at last, they don’t care when baby will crawl and walk. However, experts have stated that baby should begin to develop her muscles when she gets home from the hospital. Playing games with her, the experts say, helps her not only strengthen her muscles, but also get in the mindset to crawl.
How to Begin
How to help baby crawl may begin when she comes home from the hospital. She won’t be thrilled with tummy time at first, but she needs it. Place her on your own tummy. Watch as she lifts her head to look at you, her arms to reach out for you, and her legs to propel her toward you. She’s using the core muscles that support her whole body as she moves. Next, she’ll be able to push herself up onto her hands, lifting her little chest up. She’s getting stronger.
Gee, Mom, What’s This?
Making baby aware of her body is an important step in helping her to crawl. When she knows what her arms and legs do, how they feel and how they look, then she’ll be better disposed to using them. Parents can begin by swaddling baby, either in blankets or hands. Feeling her arms and legs close to her body will make her more aware of them if they are swaddled. For example, taking both legs gently in hand, playing silly games with baby. Touch her toes to her nose and sing as you do it. Lift her little arms as if she’s working out. Reach out and introduce one finger to one toe and so forth. Make it funto be introduced to her own body.
The Mechanics of Crawling
Baby needs to know that her little fists aren’t the best for crawling. To teach her to open her little hands, put her on the counter in the kitchen with you. Give her a soda cracker. Place it between her hands as if she was praying. Does she like the texture? Is she trying to lift it to her mouth? Now try a small but lengthwise cut of banana. We bet she likes that texture as well as the taste! When it’s bath time, teach her to splash in the water with an open hand, to touch the washcloth with an open hand and to rub her little face with an open hand. She’ll mimic everything she sees you do, so if you do these things, you’ll be teaching her to crawl with open hands instead of fists.
From Sitting to Crawling
When babies roll over for the first time, parents go wild with joy. When baby sits up for the first time, parents go even wilder. What parents need to recognize is that baby is using her core muscles to move her body. She’s curious about her surroundings and wants to see them more clearly. So she sits up to see them. Soon she will begin to reach for toys or a parent across the room. To help her before she crawls properly, sit on the floor with her:
- As you’re seated, put your hands on the floor as if you were going to crawl. She will mirror every move you make, because she’s in curiosity mode
- When she falls over from sitting onto her hands to begin crawling, she will rock back and forth. As you’re sitting there helping her, rock your body, too. Then rock it onto your hands and knees so she can see what it looks like.
- When on your hands and knees, hang there for a bit as she watches. She needs to see the logic of the whole thing in her mind before she tries it.
- As she sits there thinking about it, pat the bottoms of her little feet. This tells her that this is what it feels like for Mom to crawl, and it will feel the same for her.