How To: Help your baby crawl

Research has shown that by about seven or eight months old, babies should start crawling. We have all heard how important crawling is for children’s spatial ability, which impacts their ability to read and write later in life. The truth is that many babies try to bypass the crawling stage altogether and only master a “bum-shuffle” or a leopard crawl. Here are some tips to help your baby reach this important milestone.

The 5P baby crawling system

If you’re concerned that your baby wants to skip crawling altogether, you can use the 5P baby crawling system: a logical five-step process that will encourage your baby to start crawling. Once they get the hang of it and realise how fast they can move, your baby will be crawling in no time.

P – Put on the carpet

Before your baby can crawl, they need to be comfortable lying on their tummy. Putting your baby on the floor or carpet every day for some playtime is a great place to start. Playing and talking with your baby while they’re playing on the carpet will make them enjoy this tummy time much more.

P - Put together a roller

Once your baby is comfortable playing on the floor or carpet, roll a towel into a “sausage” shape. You can also buy cylindrical shaped roller toys – the solid ones normally last longer and can be used to teach your baby to walk as well.

P - Position the elbows

To prepare your baby for crawling, hold them by the elbows and draw the elbows towards their body. It will almost seem as if your baby wants to lie on their elbows. Continue to provide support.

P - Position on roller

Now position the "sausage" under your baby's upper body with their arms hanging over the front of the "sausage". Ensure that the towel supports the upper body, not the tummy, with their elbows just touching the carpet. This position should slightly raise their upper body, allowing your baby to discover their surroundings. Make sure their elbows touch the carpet.

P - Perform in front

This is the most important step. Get down on the floor in front of your child and face them. Let your baby look at your face while you entertain and encourage them. A crawl mirror (a cylindrical mirror which rolls on the floor) is also a great help. The idea is to encourage your baby to endure longer sessions each day on their tummy, and to be able to look at their surroundings while lying down. They need to focus on you and should then develop a sense of using both elbows and legs for support. If this is done correctly, you'll soon see your baby supporting themselves on their arms and both knees. They are now ready to crawl!

Learning to crawl is one of those milestones that will seem perfectly natural as soon as your baby figures it out, but may seem foreign to begin with. A little encouragemenet with the 5P crawling system could be all they need to turn into crawling machines. Have you tried the 5Ps?

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