Sunday, September 14, 2014

Motor Monday-Crawling

Hooray!! We finally have three crawlers!  This week Isaiah left his belly flop crawl behind and is crawling on all fours pretty consistently.  It has been so fascinating to watch the evolution of crawling in all three babies because each of them took a different developmental path.  Here's a quick breakdown for each of them.

1. army crawling (7mo)
2. rocks on all 4s (7.5mo)
3. crawls on all fours only in the grass (8-9mo)
4. crawls on all fours everywhere (just before 10mo)

1. rolls for mobility (7mo)
2. rocks in all fours (~8mo)
3. pushes backward on belly (only for about a week 8-9mo)
4. crawls on all fours (10.5mo)

1. pushes backward on his belly (7mo)
2. rocks on all 4s (7-8mo)
3. belly flop crawl--all 4s, launch forward onto belly, all 4s, repeat (just before 10mo)
4. crawls on all 4s (11.5mo)

The variation in styles and timeline is so interesting, particularly since they are all experiencing the same parenting, i.e. getting similar amount and type of practice, etc.  I am so so so happy that they are all crawling though!  I was practically convinced that at least one of them would make me crazy and not crawl, either scooting on their bum or just going straight to walking, but I was determined that they would all crawl. =)

So, why was I so obsessed with having them all learn to crawl?  Crawling is an important developmental milestone.  There are lots of great things about crawling, but here are a few keys:

1.) Crawling develops core strength.  Crawling on all fours requires babies to support their weight on their arms and legs. And not only does she have to get her belly up, she also has to be able to hold her belly up while lifting an arm and leg.  Have you ever been in an exercise class or at PT and had to do this exercise to strengthen your core?
  This is a great core exercise and in order to crawl babies need to be able to briefly support their weight on just one hand and knee while the opposite limbs move forward.  I think it was a lack of core strength that was holding Isaiah back on crawling for the longest time.

2.) Crawling develops bilateral coordination.  Bilateral coordination is being able to move both sides of the body in a controlled and coordinated manner, whether doing the same things or different things.  Crawling involves moving the right arm & left leg together and the left arm & right leg together so this crosses two midlines of the body, both right to left and top to bottom.  Bilateral coordination is important for sports (e.g. stepping with your left foot while you throw a baseball with your right arm) and lots of practical things in life like being able to hold a paper with your left hand while you cut it with your right.

3.) Crawling helps develop vision.  When babies learn to crawl they use their eyes in a new way.  They look into the distance using their distance vision, and then look down at their hands, using their near vision.  These transitions in vision helps develop smooth coordination of the eyes and is important later in life for things like copying from a board in school.

Crawling is also, typically, the first independent mobility that kids experience and independent mobility is important for cognitive development, particularly for developing visual-spatial skills like understanding where things are in relationship to each other.  Independent mobility also allows children to interact with their environment and their family members in new ways.

So what can you do to help your baby learn to crawl?  Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Incorporate lots of tummy time with motivating toys (or yourself) placed a little bit in front or to either side to encourage him to move in any direction

  • When your baby is sitting and playing with toys, place toys out a little farther to encourage her to move towards an all fours position to reach them or even just to get used to supporting weight on her arms.

  • Put your baby in all fours over your lower leg, a big towel roll, or a small ball to get them used to the position.

  • Once your baby is hanging out in all fours encourage her to reach for a toy so she has to support her weight on both legs and one arm.

  • Woohoo!  Now they can help get themselves from place to place! =)

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