I know the saying usually is, you “have” to crawl before you can walk. However as a parent, I’ve learned that kids don’t always follow the exact milestones laid out before them. Sometimes they make leaps over the milestone and even go straight from sitting to walking, without any crawling.
But what I’ve also learned is more of the meaning of the phrase “crawl before you walk”. Many experts say now that crawling is just, if not more, important than walking, and is not a milestone you want to encourage your child to skip.
Parents get so excited when it comes to the milestone of walking. As soon as baby starts pulling themselves up into standing position, parents are eager to start taking their hands and walk them around the room, encouraging babies to take their own steps.
However, what some parents fail to realize is crawling is a good thing; and the longer a baby crawls before he/she walks, the stronger and more secure the baby will be with his/her ability to walk.
So, what is so important about crawling? Here are the top 6 reasons demonstrated by BBC iWonder:
Gross Motor Skills
When babies are crawling they are developing and learning to use the larger muscles in their legs, hands and arms that propel them across the floor. Clearly, these are skills you need to have to learn how to walk, run and jump. Major development: build upper body strength
Fine Motor Skills
Different from gross motor, fine motor skills are what we use to write, pick things up, button our shirts; we even use these skills for chewing and speech. Major development: strengthen the smaller muscles in the hands and fingers that allow us to perform these skills with better agility and power
While crawling, babies are getting to learn their environment. They are learning and remembering specific things around them, how to find objects in their environment, and their relation to the world around them. By trying to maneuver around and fit their bodies through different spaces and openings, they are practicing trial and error style of learning. Major development: the start to problem-solving
Well, let’s face it; without balance we would fall flat on our faces. Major development: grace and posture when walking – neither of these two do you want to miss out on.
When babies are crawling, they are always assessing where their hands are going in relation to helping them get to the object they are trying to reach. This “binocular vision” is helpful for babies to be able to recognize and calculate distances between objects and themselves. You already know the major area where we need this – DRIVING! Also with being able to copy and write things from a blackboard, catching, etc. Major development: hand-eye coordination
The development of confidence in a person begins a lot younger than you may have believed. Taking risks and learning from their mistakes and successes, is what drives your baby to want to keep working at developing new skills and understanding more about his/herself, including their strengths and challenges. You learn and grow from both, but most importantly you learn to take pleasure in your achievements and how to overcome obstacles with self-reliance and self-belief. Major development: of course, confidence
The longer it takes for a child to start walking, really, the better. Taking their time means they are really soaking in their surroundings – watching and learning from others, observing the things around them to determine if they are safe to go, or not.
So parents, relax. Just because your child is eager to start walking right at the age of 12 months, does not necessarily mean there is something wrong.
Take this opportunity to talk to her about what she might be thinking. While he’s standing, looking as though he’s staring off into space, take the time to get on his level and make statements like, “That chair seems far doesn’t it. Don’t worry mommy is here if you fall;” or “That is a really tall bookcase. You don’t want to climb on it because it could fall on you.”
And sometimes, silence is golden. Just let her explore. Of course, you might want to follow her if she goes into a room where there are things that could hurt her; but if she’s just hanging out in the middle of the living room, with nothing around that can impale her, and you are only two feet away in the kitchen, then just check in once a while and let her figure some things out on her own.
And if you must, get off of social media and stop comparing yourself, and your child, to what you see on Facebook. Just because the picture looks good, doesn’t mean life is perfect.
Every parent struggles, at some point or another; and every child master’s different milestones at different times.
Love them; support them; and lean on others when you feel you’ve been stretched to your limit. If you think there is something physically wrong with your child, always consult; if nothing else, it can help ease your mind, or help you to put a plan into a place if needed.
Please take this 4th of July to enjoy family and cherish the freedom that we are offered here in this great country that allows us the ability to express ourselves and the liberty to ask for help when we need it.
Have a safe and wonderful independence holiday, remembering everything it means for your family, and mine!
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” – Abraham Lincoln