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Is Crawling important for my Baby?

As a paediatric physiotherapist, I am very often asked by parents if crawling is truly important for their child – and it is! Crawling is a significant developmental milestone for babies, with benefits in their physical, cognitive, and sensory growth. These benefits include:

Development of motor skills

Crawling on hands and knees demands the coordination of various muscle groups, including those in the arms, legs, and core. This fosters the refinement of both fine and gross motor skills, promoting strength, control, and balance.

Preparation for walking

Crawling engages and strengthens muscles across the body, including the shoulders, arms, legs, and core. The weight-bearing on hands and knees primes the muscles and joints for the transition to standing and walking. This muscle development is pivotal for future physical endeavours and milestones.

Integration of brain hemispheres

Crawling entails a cross-lateral movement pattern (ie. alternating movements between left and right side of the body). This bilateral coordination helps to integrate both hemispheres of the brain, supporting cognitive development.

Improves hand eye coordination

Crawling also helps develop hand eye coordination as babies utilize vision to guide their movements and interact with objects within their reach. Having good coordination allows timely achievement of developmental milestones such as grasping, walking, and running.

Improves awareness and depth perception

Crawling enables babies to explore their surroundings and navigate through spaces, contributing to the development of spatial awareness and depth perception. They learn to gauge distances and understand the layout of their environment.

Promotion of body awareness

Crawling boosts proprioception, described to be the awareness of one's body position in space. Babies develop a better understanding of their bodies and learn to adjust their movements, accordingly, setting the stage for activities like walking and running.

Encourages independence and confidence

Crawling empowers babies to explore their environment autonomously, fostering a sense of independence and confidence. As they become more adept at moving around, they gain the courage to explore, contributing to emotional and social growth.

It's important to recognize that each baby progresses through developmental milestones at their own pace, and not all babies crawl conventionally on hands and knees. Some may opt for alternative methods of movement, which could signal issues with postural control and tone. If there are concerns regarding your baby's development or if they bypass crawling altogether, please approach our friendly paediatric physiotherapist Xan for helpful tips and tricks to reach these milestones 


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