There is something so special about watching your little one as they grow and begin to achieve different milestones. From the first time they hold their head up unsupported to walking into their classroom on the first day of school, these achievements will fill your heart with pride and joy.
One of the most exciting milestones they will hit in their first year is when they start to crawl – and let us tell you, once they start moving, they will never stop!
There’s nothing quite like watching your baby crawl for the first time. We thought we’d deep dive into how you can encourage your little one to start crawling, with a few tips and hints.
We’ll explain everything you need to know about baby crawling and tell you when you can expect to see your baby crawl. We’ll even give you our top tips on how to encourage your baby to crawl, so read on to learn more.
At what age do babies start to crawl?
It’s important to remember that every baby is different and will achieve milestones at different times. Some babies will start crawling sooner than others; some may even skip crawling and go straight into taking their first steps.
However your baby progresses, the most important thing you can do is provide a loving, caring environment for them.
Babies can start to crawl from as early as four months old, although it’s more common for them to start moving between 6-10 months.
Rolling over comes before crawling. Once babies learn how to move onto their tummies, typically between 3-5 months old, they will then start to push themselves up onto their hands and knees.
There is no ‘right’ way to roll over. Your baby may roll from their back to their tummy or the other way, or they may start with a half-roll onto their side. Whichever way your baby rolls, celebrate their accomplishment.
Tummy time is a fantastic way to help your baby strengthen their core muscles, which are crucial to taking the next step towards crawling. A high-quality baby play mat is the perfect support for tummy time strength development.
Once your baby has nailed rolling over, you’ll find they can move themselves across the room! Make sure you supervise them closely to ensure they don’t get into any mischief.
Even if they aren’t pulling themselves up against furniture to stand or crawling yet, you might need to do a bit of babyproofing and tidying up.
Note: Babies can roll unexpectedly, so ensure you never leave your baby alone on the changing table. This is true even for tiny babies, as you never know when they will make that first flip. If you need extra nappies or cream, pop your baby on the floor on a play mat and then gather the required supplies.
Commonly, babies begin to crawl between 6-10 months old, following stages of development:
- They’ll gain head control.
- Then, they will learn to sit unassisted.
- They’ll begin to roll themselves over and push up with their arms to raise their upper body.
- They’ll learn how to pull their legs up under their body and get up on their hands and knees.
You’ll notice they will start to rock forwards and backward on their hands and knees – this is a common precursor to crawling. Although, other babies skip that stage and learn how to move themselves around by doing a ‘bum shuffle’ where they sit up and shoot their legs out in front of them, then pull themselves across the floor – so don’t be surprised if your baby does this!
There are all sorts of ways babies can move themselves around. They can wiggle across the floor on their belly in a kind of “commando crawl” or push themselves around with their legs.
Others use their arms to pull their tiny bodies around. However they do it, there’s no right or wrong way to crawl!
Ludere’s top tips to get your baby crawling
You may be anxiously awaiting the day your baby starts crawling, so let’s have a look at some ways to help your baby along.
Tummy time helps develop the muscles in your baby’s arms, legs, back, and neck. Tummy time often works best in your baby’s room or nursery. However, as long as you have a quality baby play mat and you supervise your baby, you can let them have tummy time wherever it suits you.
Once they are on their tummy, you can lift them and help them assume the crawling position to create muscle memory. You can introduce Tummy time whenever you feel ready. Some parents start as soon as they are home from the hospital; others wait a little longer. Learn more about introducing tummy time here.
Strengthen their muscles
Helping your baby prepare to crawl is all about strengthening their tiny muscles. You can help your little one get a leg work out by lifting them into a standing position supporting them around the chest.
Babies adore eye contact, so holding them up in front of you allowing them to take some weight on the legs is a beautiful time for bonding for you both.
Give your baby a mirror on their play mat
Take tummy time up a notch and introduce a mirror. Babies are born curious, and they will want to reach out to their reflection. This will lead to holding themselves up and reaching out toward the mirror - movements that will help get your baby crawling.
Use toys as encouragement
Placing a toy just out of reach is a great way to encourage your baby to crawl. Talk to them, encouraging them to try to reach the toy. If they do, give them lots of praise. If they try but can’t quite get it, provide them with the toy and lots of praise too. Reward the efforts.
One of the best ways to do this is by placing your baby in a sitting position on the floor. Set the toys either directly in front of them or off to the side. Ensure they are just out of their reach.
They need to be far enough away that your little one must move to get them but not so far that they get frustrated.
Use a play tunnel
Tunnels are a great way to encourage crawling. Something as simple as a blanket between two chairs can be practical. Place your baby at one side and sit at the other, calling them to you. Exercises like this can help your baby begin to crawl.
Help your baby assume the crawling position.
Once your little one is comfortable rolling over, help them up into a crawling position by lifting them around the middle until their hands and knees are bearing a little weight. Tell them what you are doing and help them get familiar with this position.
This is an excellent way for them to practice crawling.
Show them how to crawl
Babies are mimics; they love copying your facial expressions, sounds, and movements – this is how they learn. So don’t be afraid to get down on the floor and show them how to crawl!
You can start during tummy time as it’s a great way of distracting fussy babies. Or, if you have an older child, get them involved! It’s a fabulous way to encourage sibling bonding.
Keep it fun
Be patient and remember it’s not a competition or race to see how quickly your baby will learn how to crawl. It’s essential to keep it fun above all else, so stop if your little one starts to fuss or becomes uncomfortable. Roll them over and play peek-a-boo or give them lots of soothing cuddles and try again later.
The goal is to form positive associations with tummy time and exploration in general. You want to nurture and encourage their curiosity, so don’t force your baby to do it when they aren’t enjoying it. Always shower them with plenty of praise after tummy time and crawling practice.
Once your little one becomes mobile, it’s a whole new game! You’ll need to babyproof your house to avoid any accidents because, trust us, once they start to move, it can turn into mayhem (in the best possible way!).
Baby proofing tips:
- Remove small items from the floor as they can be choking risks
- Keep any cords out of reach
- Lock cabinets and drawers
- Cover electrical plugs
- Keep the floor clear and clean.
Honestly, when we were baby-proofing, we got down on our hands and knees and looked around for any possible hazards. We ended up moving a few houseplants to avoid our little one taking mouthfuls of soil!
What if my baby doesn’t crawl?
Don’t worry if your baby isn’t crawling by 7 or 8 months. As we mentioned before, every baby is different and develops independently. Keep using the tips we shared above, and your baby will be crawling before you know it.
Note: If you are genuinely concerned, make an appointment to see your GP or paediatrician. If your baby isn’t showing typical signs of mobility—rolling, shuffling, scooting along the floor—they might need a medical assessment.
Take lots of pictures
While those first few months may seem like a struggle forming positive feeding, sleeping, and playing routines, in reality they will pass by in a flash. Your little one will be off before you know it, wanting to explore their world. Crawling is one of the significant milestones, so take plenty of pictures to capture this special time.
Remember, all babies crawl differently and begin crawling at different ages. But, no matter how or when your baby does it, it will be an exciting time for your whole family.
Choose a Ludere Baby Crawl Mat
Our baby play mats are the perfect option for your little ones to build up their muscles in preparation for crawling. Explore our range and get your baby off to the best start possible.
Lovingly made and designed with sustainability in mind, our baby play mat will grow with your baby and form the backdrop to their achievements.
Don’t forget to share your pictures on Instagram and tag @luderekids.