Very often we hear that some babies skip the crawling and go on to stand and to walk without support. Parents are elated that their child has started to walk before 10 months without crawling.
I do have some relatives or even friend’s in-laws who refused to let their grandchildren crawl simply because they claimed that the floor was dirty, the baby might hit the head or do not want the baby’s kneecaps to be dark.
But the little one will miss out a very important milestone that will help in his development as he grows.
When a baby crawls, he is developing gross and fine motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination and balancing. At the same time, he is also gaining visual perception and spatial awareness. Spatial awareness allows kids to know and understand where they are and the location of objects(toys/balls) in relation to their own bodies. They will then move towards the object using planned routes either ‘through’ or ‘around’ obstacles. Do not look down on these basic skills. These skills not only prevent toddlers from tripping over their own feet, but help in their motor planning and increases their spatial awareness. These skills will also help them in their learning when they are of school going age and throughout their lives.
However, it also does not mean that if a child does not crawl when he was a baby, he would have some learning issues. Most children grow up fine and may take up sports or any other physical activities.
When I had my first child, I was so focused on her being intellectually smart that I sent her to an enrichment school that takes in babies as young as 8 months. I overlooked on the importance of crawling thinking that she hated crawling.
I do not remember her crawling for long, only 1-2 crawls before she stopped. As she started talking when she was 12 months old, I did not bother if she crawled.
As she grew older, I noticed something was amiss. Teachers were commenting that she was easily distracted, doing strange things and was certainly behind her peers. At home, she had behavioral issues every single day.
We sent her to Child Development Centre and some brain training schools and were made to fill up thick stacks of forms. One of the first questions asked was “Did your child crawl as a baby?”
I had attended a workshop to learn to help kids with learning difficulties. At this workshop, I met many therapists from other countries. I spoke to them about my girl separately and every one of them asked me the same question on crawling. They explained to me the importance of crawling and its effect on motor planning and coordination etc.
At that same time, my second child was about 5-6 months then. I made sure that he crawled and did not push him to walk early. I let him crawled for the longest time – a good 7 months!
Please note that this article is based on my personal experiences and research.