Advice Column, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby

What if my baby doesn’t crawl?

You might have heard some people say that crawling is vitally important, while others say it is not. Many people have said “My baby never crawled and he is fine” or “I don’t think it’s that important”. Personally I prefer not to listen to everyone’s opinions, but to look at the research. Not only do I work in this field, but I am a mommy of a son who didn’t crawl. A super intelligent boy who has low muscle tone and is double jointed. So I too was wondering what all the fuss was about when our Paediatrician sent us to the baby Physio.

What advantages are there to crawling?

It is important to understand that the development of Gross motor skills is essential for the development of fine motor skills. These two go hand-in-hand.

Firstly crawling builds strength in all the muscles around the shoulders. Without strength in these muscles, he will have great difficulty in stabilizing his arm while doing intricate functions with his hands, such as drawing or doing a puzzle. Here you can see that crawling is essential for physical development. It develops gross and fine motor skills, balance and hand-eye co-ordination

This is where the problem was lying for us. My son is double jointed in his shoulders and he could physically not carry his own weight there. The strengthening of these muscles are vitally important for fine motor skills as well. Muscles getting tired easily and quickly means that holding a pencil in the correct pencil grip is a challenge for example.

Secondly it develops bilateral co-ordination. This means that both the left and right sides of the brain and body communicate with each other at the same time. This is called cross-lateral integration, and it builds a foundation for future skills such as speech and language development, as well as movements that cross the mid-line like reading, writing and tying shoe laces.

Another obvious advantage is the freedom to explore. Yes this means bumping of head and packing away anything that could be dangerous but it has so many benefits. It helps develop visual spatial skills and depth perception. It also builds self-confidence as baby learns to make his own decisions and to take risks.

What do I do if my baby doesn’t crawl?

There are many ways to determine the problem and help. As a start it is important to not push baby to crawl too soon. The average is at around 9 months, but if he is a little slower it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a problem. If you are concerned have a chat to your paediatrician about it.

There are also lots of games and exercises you can do to help encourage weight bearing on the arms. Before actually crawling baby needs to be able to stand on all fours with his bum in the air, you can help him do this by rolling a towel underneath his tummy and lifting him up into the crawl position. Once baby can do this himself, he will start rocking and many start moving backwards first, before crawling forward.

My son did the bum shuffle, and never actually crawled on all fours. If your child is the same don’t despair you can help develop all these skills and muscles at an older age too. Play crawling games as a toddler over an obstacle course is a good option. You can also do wheelbarrow walks or races. This is where your child walks on his hands, while you hold his feet.

These and many more are all activities included in the SkidZ Clever Activity Box curriculum. It includes daily activities for all the different milestones and helps baby develop all the necessary skills through play. The program was developed by experts in the field of early childhood development and so you can have the peace of mind that all areas are covered. The program is not only good for parents to know what age appropriate activities to do with baby, but it is perfect for nannies too. Children learn and build relationships through play and this is what our program aids in.

For more info please contact me at chantelle@skidz.co.za You can also get in touch via our facebook page www.facebook.com/skidzsa and our website www.skidz.co.za

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