Tips to Encourage Your Baby to Crawl

Why encourage your baby to crawl? Don't they learn to do so on their own? Babies do learn how to crawl on their own. However, they still need your support to lose their fear and go for it. Here are some tricks you can put to the test.
Tips to Encourage Your Baby to Crawl
Marcela Caffulli

Written and verified by the pediatrician Marcela Caffulli.

Last update: 10 October, 2022

You’d probably love to encourage your baby to crawl. After all, a baby’s first years of life are full of exciting and magical moments. Their progress and completion of every milestone fill parents with pride. It’s a source of celebration.

Babies begin to crawl between 7 and 9 months. This occurs when the baby is ready to do so. In reality, they don’t need anyone to teach them how to do it.

However, parents can help stimulate the movements that will drive the baby to their first crawl.

Crawling is the first great achievement in psychomotor development. It’s the first gesture of independence of every human being: the first time a person can move from one place to another on their own. Thus, it’s the moment when they begin to discover a whole world.

Types of Crawling

A woman holding a baby.
There are different types of crawling. Some are more rudimentary and others need greater motor skills.

Not all babies crawl at the same rate. Also, even though some babies are clumsier than others, it doesn’t mean a baby is less intelligent.

There are four different types of crawling:

  1. There is a type of crawl that most resembles a form of creeping around. Here, the baby doesn’t lift her body but moves forward with her arms, like a crawling soldier.
  2. Also, there’s another way that resembles the previous one. However, here the baby completely lifts her torso. She put her hands on the ground and propels forward with her arms only while keeping her legs extended.
  3. Next, the most common way to crawl is using arms and knees. In this case, the baby is on all fours. That is, her arms and knees are on the floor.
  4. Finally, some babies completely lift their torso and lean on their hands and feet.

How to Encourage Your Baby to Crawl

1. Let Them Play Upside Down

A smiley baby on a rug.

When you place a baby on their chest, you encourage them to use the muscles that’ll allow them to move and crawl.

Babies usually sit and sleep on their backs. Therefore, placing them chest down when they’re awake will stimulate a different set of movements, such as lifting their heads.

They may feel uncomfortable at first. If so, don’t leave them in that position for too long. However, keep trying until they get used to it. There are many toys to keep them distracted with.

Also, you can also lie on your back and place the baby on top of you, with their chest down.

2. Place Things In Front of Them to Reach

When the baby feels more comfortable lying on their stomach, place an object of interest in front of them but beyond their reach. This will encourage them to move forward.

They may seem frustrated at first, still, don’t move the toy closer. You’ll see how your baby finds a way to crawl and reach it.

3. Encourage Your Baby to Crawl by Getting on All Fours with Them

Babies learn through observation. If they see you crawl, they’ll know it’s possible.

Of course, this doesn’t mean they’ll crawl as soon as they see you do it. However, it’ll help them know they can do it. It’ll give them clues on how to do it.

A woman sitting on the floor with a baby.
Crawl along with your baby. Infants learn by example.

4. Encourage Your Baby to Crawl with Hanging Toys

Hanging toys above the baby when they lie on their back help strengthen their arms and their abdominal muscles.
Babies like colors and movement. This is why mobiles are great for them. As they try to reach them, they’ll exercise the same muscles they’ll then use to crawl.

You may be interested: How to Teach Your Baby to Sit Up

5. Help Them Swing

Roll up a towel or a sheet and place the baby on their chest with the towel at between their abdomen and chest.

Then, lift the towel so that the baby’s trunk rises with it.

They’ll instinctively rest their hands on the ground. When they do, swing the towel forward and backward.

You can also do this exercise by lifting the baby with your hands on their hips.

What Happens if Your Baby Won’t Crawl?

Most babies crawl before they walk or get up with support. Many of them go directly from sitting on their own to standing up with support. This is completely normal.

In any case, if you notice your baby has difficulty crawling, then consult your pediatrician to find out if their motor skills progress is normal.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.