As a mother, I remember celebrating each of my children’s development milestones, from rolling over to sitting on their own to crawling and walking. After all, each stage of physical development is important… or is it?
In 1994 the American Academy of Pediatrics started to encourage parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS has decreased more than 50 percent, but according to several studies an inadvertent result of the campaign is that more children are meeting their motor milestones later or bypassing them altogether. This is because the lack of time on their bellies doesn’t allow children to develop their upper bodies enough for the classic hands-and-knees crawl. Some children will only crawl for a short period of time, crawl “funny” or skip this milestone completely. The question this raises is, “Is crawling really that important?”
The answer is, “Yes.” Along with strengthening the trunk, shoulders and hand muscles, the mechanics of crawling stimulate different areas of the brain that are important for future learning. When a child begins crawling, this repetitious movement helps stimulate and organize neurons, allowing her brain to control cognitive processes such as comprehension, concentration and memory. When an infant crawls, she visually determines where she wants to go and physically moves in that direction. Her hands become the guides and the child’s first test of hand/eye coordination becomes established. This skill set is used later in life for reading, writing and sports activities.
Written by: Heather Haring, OTR/L, MedCentral Pediatric Therapy
Read more at Medcentral.org
Another article on the importance of crawling:
Early Intervention- Crawling, is it really that important?