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I've been asked this question a few times this week in my Physio Clinic and wanted to highlight a few points here about the importance of crawling for anyone who has a baby, plans to have a baby, or has grandchildren or nieces or nephews or friends with babies.
So basically, everyone.
We all need to know why ideally every child should crawl before they walk...
There are a number of reasons that children are less likely to crawl these days than 15 to 20 years ago, but that I will discuss another time. For now,
The importance of Crawling:
1. The crawling movement strengthens the muscles and improves the muscle tone around the abdominal and gluteal (bottom) muscles, important for balance and stability and coordination as your child grows older.
2. Crawling strengthens the muscles around the shoulder girdle, which helps with the muscle control required for hand writing when your child goes to school.
3. Crawling helps to develop coordination, in the reciprocal movement required in moving the opposite arm and leg simultaneously to propel forwards. Important for control and fluidity of movement.
4. Crawling gives your child the independence and the ability to explore their environment, and to discover objects that exist further away.
5. Crawling also gives babies the experience to work out how far away an object really is and helps develop their perceptive and visual skills, and a feeling of knowing where they are in the environment around them. This helps with all aspects of physical strength and development and also with academic tasks at school.
Parents are often proud when they tell me that their children "skipped crawling, and went straight to walking..."
This inevitably results in me providing a treatment program with loads of exercises in the crawling position.
Of course, there will always be exceptions. Some children who never crawl will have good balance, handwriting, coordination and core strength.
But I can tell you that I see a steady flow of children who never crawled, coming for Physio treatment when they start school because they are...
"struggling with balance and are 'clumsy' "
"cant even stand on one leg at a time" because they have poor balance
"are struggling with handwriting" as a result of their weak core strength, not allowing them to effectively free up their upper limbs to write, and not having enough strength in their shoulder girdle muscles to effectively control their pen.
and some are
"struggling to even tolerate sitting at a desk in a chair at school."
Again, I am sure that there must also be children with a number of the problems mentioned above, who did crawl for a significant amount of time, as not crawling is not the only factor that can cause the above.
I just haven't seen many...
Please do "tummy time" with your babies everyday. A total of 30 minutes spread throughout the day.
And do everything in your power to get your baby to crawl before they walk.
Even if they don't crawl, the time spent on their stomachs will only benefit their normal development.
Please spread the word...
And do contact me if you would like any more advice regarding this.