Advice Column, Toddler, Toptots

How to encourage crawling

Crawling is an important milestone in your child’s development. Here are some suggestions to help encourage your child to start crawling when you can see he is eager to start getting moving. Don’t put any pressure on your child, he will get there when he is ready, but use these activities as a fun way of stimulating his movement systems and getting him prepared for crawling.

  • Try and make sure that he gets lots of tummy time so that he can develop strong back and neck muscles which are essential for crawling. Try to make it fun by lying on your tummy in front of him and pulling faces at him/ singing to him/ moving his favourite car around in front of him etc. 
  • When he is in sitting, place his toys slightly out of his reach so that he has to stretch to reach them. This will exercise his trunk muscles and develop his balance, both of which are necessary for crawling.
  • Place him in a kneeling position on the floor i.e. on his hands and knees. Kneel over him and use your hands to rock his body gently backwards and forwards. This will help stimulate his balance reactions in the kneeling position.
  • Put him on an old towel/ sheet/ blanket lying on his tummy. Take him for a ride around the lounge by pulling the towel/ sheet/ blanket slowly around on the floor. You can also try this in sitting, but go very slowly so that he doesn’t fall backwards and hit his head. This will activate his vestibular system which is the movement system of the body and may increase his desire to move and will also stimulate the balance centres of the brain.
  • Give him some movement stimulation every day (through stimulating his vestibular system) by doing things like throwing him (gently) up in the air; twirling him around; bouncing him on your lap; holding him under his tummy and “flying” him around the room etc. 
  • You can also give him a nice massage after his bath each night to increase his body awareness.
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