Baby Development

Taking Their Time On All Fours?

From the day our new bundle arrives we start ticking the boxes – 10 toes, 10 fingers… but the boxes never end, only the data changes.

One of those boxes frequently discussed among new parents is that of crawling. -Has Hope started crawling yet, because my little Tim has?

But despite what all the parenting books may reveal on the age-of-the-all-fours, children will steady themselves on hands and knees and take off on their adventures at different ages. There’s no right and there’s no wrong age for crawling to begin. Sometimes there’s simply no age at all as your ever-daring explorer skips the crawling stage altogether and ventures straight to wobbling, unsteady steps.

Whether your child sets out to conquer the floor boards at eight months, 10 months, 12 or more, it doesn’t necessarily affect when he will take to the two-legged position of actually walking.

For years most professionals have vehemently denied that an early or a late crawler is affected in any other form of his development. But more recently reports have been quietly making their way to the fore that long term effects could be experienced.


Late crawlers and educational performance

Physiologists studying this very phenomenon at the University of London believe there could be a link between the inability of a child to crawl by the time he is nine months old and poor educational performance in later years.

Although possibly over-protective, in the world of parents this phenomenon raises many a strong protest.

Most do not believe that an isolated delay in development such as crawling signifies any reason for unjust concern and certainly no link to sub-standard educational ability.

There are the parents who ignore the issue of their youngsters slow crawling capabilities completely, and then there is the group of parents who attempt to encourage their toddlers whom they think may just be lazy late crawlers.


Trying to entice him

If it’s that important to you that your child learns to crawl, try putting him in the middle of an empty floor with few other distractions close at hand and place his juice, a treat or his favourite toy just out of his reach. He may surprise you and make a bee-line for it on all fours!

Many toddlers choose the bum-slide option instead of the crawl to make their way around, while there are also those who will roll over and over to the point of their attention.

Sometimes letting your toddler  have a play date with another child more or less the same age but who is already crawling may just create the light bulb moment for him that he, too, could enjoy this newly discovered game! You can even play this copycat game with him. Try sitting on the floor with him and entice him to you. You could use his juice, a toy or a colourful object to get his attention.

Don’t forget to keep in mind that if your baby is of a calm and laid-back nature as opposed to a more excitable character there is a strong possibility that he won’t be too worried or rushed to rise up to any new challenges too soon.

Late crawling in toddlers generally poses no concern but should you be worried and need to put your mind at ease it’s best you take your child to a paediatrician for an assessment.

Statistics from the University of London show that by nine months:

  • 92% of babies can crawl
  • 96% can sit unaided
  • 60% can stand if supported
  • 4% embark on their first steps
  • 99% can hold a toy or a small object
  • 95% have learnt to pass the toy from one hand to another.


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