Yes, Mommas and Papas!
Crawling is important and should not be skipped!
I read a discussion recently where an “expert” was arguing–adamantly– that crawling has no physiological purpose to human development and there’s nothing wrong with skipping it.
Oh, but this “expert” happened to be a psychologist!
That’s like me getting on my high horse telling everyone that hugs in childhood have nothing to do with self-esteem later in life!
Um…hello???? (I know your eyes are rolling like a teenager with a nerdy dad.)
What pediatric physical and occupational therapists (aka infant development and human movement experts) will tell you is this:
Crawling is super duper important and should not be skipped!
Now…I can see how the average person may not know WHY crawling is so important…after all, babies only do it for a little while and then they’re up and running, right?
Trust me… these few gems of knowledge about the importance of crawling will bring you to your knees…by that I mean hands and knees…
Bahaha! (I know you’re thinking…You’re a total cheeseball, EB!)
So here it is:
Children who crawled before walking tend to be less clumsy (less falls and injuries) and more coordinated, stronger, have better visual motor skills, better fine motor skills (especially handwriting,) has better timing (rhythm), memory, attention, reading skills, ability to learn, and so much more!
If your child is already walking and skipped the crawling stage–or crawled for less than 2 months–don’t leave without clicking on the post at the bottom to get some awesome ideas to help them pick up on those skills they missed–at any age!!
If your baby isn’t old enough yet to crawl on hands and knees, NOW YOU KNOW!
(Use that free milestones handbook you got from me to track all the skills that lead to crawling and get busy, Mommas and Papas!)
Don’t you dare skip this super duper important developmental building block!
Go to the Preemie Power Facebook Group to watch my video on how to help your baby learn to crawl! After you join, type “crawling” into the search bar or scan the videos for Facebook Live #23 and #34!
7 REALLY IMPORTANT REASONS WHY YOUR BABY SHOULD NOT SKIP CRAWLING:
All activities in the brain require communication between the right and left hemispheres as well as accurate timing and coordination to function in receiving input, interpreting and storing information, and producing language or movement accurately. Crawling coordinates the brain!
2. Core strength
The “core” is made up of stabilizing muscles in the neck, shoulder, trunk and hips. Crawling forces all of these groups of muscles to work simultaneously and effectively for independent mobility. This is especially important for babies with low muscle tone, since compression of the joints increases muscle tone and core strength lends to full body strength!
3. Spine and posture development
The position of the spine when a baby is on all fours is the ideal position for neutral upright posture.
If babies sit too early before their trunk muscles are able to stabilize their spine in a neutral, natural S-curve against gravity, there will be long term postural consequences.
In conjunction with lack of movement, containers and excessive screen time throughout development, there are some major long term consequences! Many school teachers are complaining about their students’ inability to sit up and sit still in their chairs, affecting their attention, concentration and learning. It’s a huge problem these days! And we all know about how common it is for us adults to have neck and back problems related to too much sitting and slouching!
4. Fine motor skills
We must have stability and strength in the shoulder girdle in order to be proficient at any fine motor activity like eating, writing and dressing (think tying shoes, buttons and zippers.)
Not only does weight bearing through the shoulder help stabilize the hand for these tasks, but the surface of the palm is also preparing for the complicated task of writing! Have you noticed when you are writing how the outside of the hand/palm has to stabilize on the table while the thumb and fingers on the inside of the hand are coordinating tiny movements to write legible letters and numbers?
In physical therapy speak, it’s the concept of “proximal stability before (distal) mobility”…you have to have a stable core/trunk and good balance before you can move your body parts well. Holy nerdy talk, Batman!
5. Visual motor skills
A baby’s visual gaze alternates between near and far, and when far gets more near, the eyes have to refocus.
What they thought they saw from 10 feet away may actually be something entirely different when they see it in their hands! They store this new information in the learned-something-new-today area of their brain to access later! Then, they are off to discover something new and different they could never access before. Movement is learning! Practice, practice, practice!
Crawling is a win-win, double whammy, super-set activity. It requires coordination of both sides of the body and coordination between the upper extremities and lower extremities. And what’s even cooler is how it coordinates in rotational and diagonal patterns, preparing us for every higher level activity in life! Skills like walking, running, swimming, kicking and throwing all require rotation (in the trunk) and opposite (“reciprocal”) limb movements (right arm is forward when the left leg is forward.)
7. Problem Solving
Remember I told you babies are little scientists? Well, crawling allows them to conduct all sorts of experiments with their bodies! They learn about variations in surfaces, slopes, curbs, steps, etc. when crawling. Wouldn’t you rather them figure out how to get down from higher surfaces(or avoid going off them head first) before they start walking?
Babies and toddlers have poor depth perception (which takes up to 4 years to fully develop), so they need to learn about distances while they’re still close to the ground!
Are you convinced yet? I hope so!
This is by no means a comprehensive list of benefits…I’m sure I’ll be adding more as (if?) my brain (sinus) clears up! 😉
Now go to this next post if your baby skipped crawling and is already walking…it’s not too late!
Do you have specific questions or concerns about your baby? I would love to help you!
Besides EVERYTHING RELATED TO INFANT DEVELOPMENT (like sleeping, breastfeeding, reflux, crying, tummy time, milestones, starting solids, etc.)
I can also help you with:
- Advocating for your baby at the doctor’s office so you don’t get dismissed as “just a new mom that worries about every little thing.”
- Getting your family on board with your baby care and child-rearing wishes so you aren’t constantly fighting the when-I-raised you-and-your-sisters mother or the stop-freaking-out-it’s-fine-if-I-feed-him-ice cream husband or babysitter.
- Prioritizing your mom and baby time (or your mom and dad time) as a working parent so you don’t feel guilty or like you are screwing up your child 24 hours a day.
- Spending your money wisely on toys and gear that will improve your child’s development instead of interferring with it.
- And anything else you need support for as a parent of a newborn so YOU can actually sleep at night…even if your baby isn’t sleeping well, because I can help with that too!
You will not get this kind of support or get empowered with this much knowledge from your child’s health care team or your own doctor, therapist, partner or friends!
Invest in YOU and YOUR BABY this year!
You really have nothing to lose and so much (knowledge, confidence, happiness, piece of mind, sanity, sleep) to gain…really. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. 😉
And you can check out this link for more information on my services as an infant and development expert as well as testimonials from parents who have benefitted from working with me.
Let this momma (and baby expert) help you, momma!