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Tips & Tricks for Getting Your Baby to Crawl!

I've been spending some chunks of time on a regular basis to work on my baby's developmental skills, whether it be language, cognitive, visual-spatial (click here for a high contrast cards printable freebie), or physical skills.  

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While I'm a speech-language pathologist by trade and didn't know much about fine and gross motor development prior to having my baby, I did some reading on my own and consulted with some of my occupational and physical therapy friends to better understand this realm.  With that, I was able to get my baby girl to crawl backwards at 4.5 months of age, and crawl forwards at 6 months of age.  (For reference, most sources I've encounter report that babies often start this milestone around 8 months of age.)

Thus, I'd like to share some of my tips and tricks in getting my baby girl to crawl by 6 months of age!  You can check them out in my video here, or scroll down to read my tips below~

Set up the Environment

Set up the environment so that it is crawling-friendly.  First, let's talk floors and surfaces.  You'll want to get a mat that is firm enough for baby to maintain balance, but not one that is so hard that it would hurt baby's knees.  Hardwood and tile floors, for example, are out of the question.  I use an Alzip mat for my little one, which I find to be perfectly firm, has a smooth texture yet provides traction, and is cushioned enough for baby to explore safely.  

Another thing to be aware of is providing a distraction-free zone as best as possible.  You can remove clutter and toys to have as much of a visible floor as possible.  This allows baby to focus on items you may put in front of him or her, and focus on moving towards them.

Wear Suitable Clothing

My baby lives in footed pajamas on most days, because let's be honest...they're just so convenient and easy to put on!  Unfortunately, when baby's foot is covered, it's hard for baby to access the sensory input from their feet to the floor, which can really benefit them when it comes to learning the skill of crawling.  When I put my baby on a mat to work on crawling, I change baby so that she has bare feet.  Not only is the sensory input helpful, but it also affords the opportunity for baby to gain more traction on the ground when moving around.  Footed pajamas are definitely more slippery!

Use an Enticing Toy

Using an enticing toy is mainly how I get my baby excited about moving forward!  There are a good variety of toys you can choose from, but the overall principle is to show it to baby, lay it down a distance from him or her on the mat (distraction- and clutter-free is best), and motivate baby to get the toy.  

Examples of toys that work well include:

  • Favorite toys that your baby gravitates to (e.g., a favorite stuffed animal)
  • Musical and light-up toys that can attract baby's attention (my baby loves her singing puppy doll, which is easily personalized to sing Lena's name to her)
  • Rattles and other instruments that can potentially make sound when they are grabbed or used

Use a Mirror

If you've brought baby in front of a mirror, you've probably noticed how he or she is quite fascinated to see the "other baby" within.  I've found that placing a mirror a distance from baby has been helpful in getting baby to want to move closer to it.  I would recommend using a large mirror on the floor (with close supervision!) so that babies can easily see most of themselves.  A small compact mirror (like a car seat mirror) that "minimizes" the view (objects look farther than they appear!) can also be very enticing.

If you need something quick and easy on hand, putting your phone down on "selfie" mode is another option too!  My baby girl actually LOVES seeing herself on my phone, and will clamber over to it whenever I set it down for her as a makeshift "mirror".

Practice Lots of Tummy Time

Last but not least...have baby practice lots of tummy time on a regular basis!  This allows baby to build up his or her core muscles, necessary for crawling.  It's also a great way to help baby get used to the feeling of being on all fours.

I hope these tips and tricks have given you some ideas and will help you on your parenting journey!  If you have any questions or would like to share your own personal tricks for getting baby to move, I'd love to hear it as well!

Warm regards,