Crawling is good for your baby

Crawling is more than just a super-cute way for babies to get where they want to go. In fact, learning to crawl is an important developmental milestone.

In the traditional crawl, they’ll start by learning to balance on their hands and knees. Then they’ll figure out how to move forward and backward by pushing off with their knees. At the same time, they’ll be strengthening the muscles in their trunk, shoulders, arms, legs and hands that will soon make it possible for them to walk.

When do babies start crawling?

Most babies learn to crawl between the ages of 7 months and 10 months. Your baby may go for a different way of moving around, though – like bottom shuffling (scooting around on their bottom, using a hand behind and a foot in front to propel themself), slithering on their stomach, or rolling across the room.

Some babies may skip the crawling phase and go straight to pulling up, standing, cruising (furniture walking) and walking, but there are definitely benefits for them to move around on all fours from around the age of six to 12 months.

Why it’s good for a baby to crawl

As your baby starts to crawl they’re developing

  • gross motor skills – these are large movements your baby makes with their arms, legs, feet or entire body. These skills are important because they’re later used to walk, run and jump.
  • fine motor skills – these strengthen the smaller muscles in the body, such as hands and fingers. These skills are later used to grasp things, move the mouth and chew, write with a pen or pencil and fasten clothing.
  • balance – this is essential for the next phase, which is walking.
  • hand-eye coordination – when their eyes and hands must work together to do something. This is essential for writing and kicking a ball.


The less time a baby spends in plastic devices such as carriers, car seats and bouncer seats, and the more time spent on the floor, the greater the chance the baby will crawl. Also, resist holding your infant’s hands and “practicing” walking until he has experienced crawling. This could encourage your baby to move straight to walking and skip the crawling phase.

Tips to encourage crawling

  • Get down on all fours and show your baby how to crawl. This may be just enough motivation to encourage your little one to give it a try.
  • Place your arm on the floor behind baby’s feet when they’re on their hands and knees. This will give your little one a surface to push against. You can also slightly push against their feet to provide some forward motion.
  • Place toys just out of reach to encourage them to move forward.
  • Cut openings in opposite sides of a large cardboard box and encourage baby to crawl through the “tunnel”.
  • Build an “obstacle course” with cushions, pillows and blankets. Your baby can crawl over and under this.


Tummy time – placing your baby on their tummy to play – helps encourage crawling later on. Read more here.

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