Crawling is an important gross motor milestone for babies that are 8-10 months of age. It is at this time that your child is figuring out how to get from one place to another independently. For some children, crawling is more difficult to learn and is, at times, delayed. This can often lead to a child skipping the crawling milestone and going straight into cruising and walking; however, this means that he or she may be missing out on some important benefits of the crawling stage.
Below are some of the reasons why a baby should NOT skip crawling:
- Crawling helps strengthen the shoulders, back and core muscles, which are necessary for further gross motor development.
- Crawling helps strengthen the tiny intrinsic muscles in the hand, facilitating development of the arches in the hands. These muscles are also important for emerging fine motor skills.
- Crawling assists the child in learning bilateral coordination of his or her arms and legs.
- Crawling also has a role in development of the visual-motor system as it requires scanning the environment with the eyes and moving the body in accordance.
A baby should be showing signs of emerging crawling skills by 8 months of age. This includes belly crawling (sometimes called “army crawling”) and pushing up onto their hands and knees and rocking. By 9 to 10 months of age, a baby should be crawling independently and using his or her arms and legs symmetrically. If you think your baby requires additional help in learning how to crawl, contact a Family Child Advocate to schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist.