by Whitney Vander Veen, PT, DPT, ATC
Did you know that there are several benefits to crawling that affect real time development, but also different aspects of learning and processing for your child later on in their life? Often times, babies will skip the regular developmental crawling phase. The good news is that some of the benefits can be performed even after a child is already walking.
Benefits of Crawling:
- Strength: Crawling promotes strength in a child’s legs and hips, in their shoulders and hands, as well as their back and core.
- Musculoskeletal development: Hip sockets are formed as muscles bring the hips inward and forward which promotes strength and balance for future walking. Wrist extension is developed which promotes future hand writing.
- Brain development with crossing midline: Crawling lays the foundation for the right side of the brain to be able to communicate with the left side of the brain and vice versa for future motor bilateral coordination as they grow. This cross communication also supports future cognitive functioning, problem solving, memory retention, and can affect a child’s ease of learning!
- Midline crossing also helps integrate several neuromotor reflexes that play a significant role in brain development, learning, and sensory preferences.
- Vision Development: Crawling promotes a baby’s depth perception, visual perceptual skills, and binocular vision as they change head position frequently and adjust their speed and direction.
- Sensory Development: Crawling allows each baby to experience different textures as they change surfaces from carpet, hardwood, grass, or dirt. It also activates vestibular and proprioceptive systems which have to interact to form the foundation of our sensory processing.
How to Encourage Crawling:
- Give your baby as much floor time as possible
- Avoid overuse of baby equipment such as walkers, activity centers, and jumpers
- Use motivating toys or objects such as cars, mirrors, tunnels, or boxes that your baby will want to move with or towards/through
- Avoid popular trends that tell you crawling is not important
Remember – even if your child skipped crawling prior to walking, you can still encourage your child to crawl. This will help progress their brain development and achieve the other benefits listed above.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development reach out to us today at 866-588-0230 or schedule a free screen online!