Ever wonder why therapists encourage crawling before learning to walk? Crawling does great things for development! It strengthens upper extremities, develops trunk flexibility and rotation, and promotes bilateral integration. Bilateral integration is important for development because it requires the two sides of the brain to work together to process information and produce responses. By completing tasks that require both sides of the body, such as crawling, the brain gets more chances to integrate information from both sides of the body.
Some important Crawling Milestones to look out for include:
- Pushing through arms to lift chest off surface during tummy time
- Shifting weight to one arm while reaching with the other during tummy time
- Scooting on belly to get to desired objects
- Maintaining quadruped position and rocking while maintaining balance
- Using arms and legs to army crawl to desired objects
- Independent reciprocal crawling
Tips to encourage independent crawling:
- Go back to the basics and focus on tummy time! Incorporate mirrors and toys to encourage spending more time on belly.
- Encourage reaching during tummy time. This will allow child to weight-bear through their arms in order to get to the desired toy or object.
- Promote the quadruped position – use a boppy, therapy ball or even a pillow under the child’s tummy to ease the challenge of stabilizing on hands and knees
If you have concerns about your child’s progress through motor milestones to crawl, please reach out for an evaluation so we can help!