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Does Crawling Matter? An Occupational Therapists Point of View

Crawling is an integral developmental milestone for babies that can oftentimes be overlooked. This is a baby’s first mode of independent transportation and should be celebrated and enjoyed!

Babies typically begin crawling between 7-10 months and it is important that crawling takes place on the child’s hands and knees and in a reciprocal pattern (meaning the left arm and right leg go forward together). Skills prior to crawling that are important to achieve include, being able to lift head off the ground, sitting independently, being able to support upper body with arms, being able to get knees underneath them, and being stable on all fours.

A reciprocal hands and knees crawling pattern is essential for development of fundamental skills and milestones including:

*Freedom and independence

*Developing musculature in the head, neck, shoulders, hands, arms, back, hips and legs *Developing arches of the hands

*Separation of the two sides of the hand

*Integrating primitive reflexes

*Advancing bilateral coordination

*Development of the visual system

*Enhanced communication between the left and right side of the brain

*Assists in body awareness, motor planning and coordination

*Allows for problem solving and exploration of environments

Often, children that skip crawling or demonstrate an alternate crawling pattern are impacted later in development. Some examples include:

*Difficulty with coordination (jumping jacks, riding a bike, skipping, etc.)

*Difficulty climbing stairs in a reciprocal pattern

*Poor balance

*Difficulty with hand-eye coordination

*Difficulty keeping up with peers

*Immature grasp patterns

*Poor protective responses when falling

*Weak core/upper body

*Difficulty with sensory processing

If you see an abnormal crawling pattern or your child is not crawling by 10 months, here at OSP Children’s Therapy Center, our physical therapist can work with your child to improve their age appropriate motor development skills, core and upper body strength, and coordination. Our occupational therapists can work with your child to improve their coordination, separation of right and left sides of body, fine motor skills and sensory processing.

Call us today at (774) 608-7253 to schedule an evaluation today!

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