Crawling is a big moment in a baby’s life. It is also a big step for parents as their little one is moving from a stage of constant care to one of more independence and mischief. For many, as soon as a baby exhibits signs of wanting to crawl or hits the age where crawling might begin, parents begin to work to urge their child to get moving. Often, this means buying fancy toys and other items to help your child get on the move. There are quite a few simple things you can do for your child that doesn’t require a lot of money though. So, check out these ideas before you start online shopping.
1. Encourage Tummy Time
One of the best things you can do for your child, even before the crawling stage begins, is to encourage tummy time. You can start tummy time when your child is a newborn as long as you do so in a safe and monitored environment. Tummy time is a great way for your child to build muscle and become more accustomed to a little independence. At first, your child probably won’t be able to handle tummy time for very long. As they grow older, they will be able to tolerate it for longer periods of time and even see it as a play time. It is important to carry on with tummy time though, even if they don’t seem to like it. There are toys you can make, like sensory bags, that can help encourage play during this time too.
2. Use a Mirror
When it comes down to it, a mirror is going to be one of your best tools with a baby. Little ones love to look at their reflection, which makes it easy for them to want to engage in tummy time. Simply place a mirror in front of your child’s play area as they begin to lift up their head. Your child will want to stay up longer and will get more joy out of their tummy time. Before they can lift their head, you might put a toy mirror on the floor. This might encourage lifting, which will definitely help them move to the next stage of tummy time.
3. Ditch Supportive Devices
It is easy to think that a supportive device is going to be one of the best options when it comes to helping your baby learn. Everything from baby seats to walkers and jumpers can actually delay the skills your little one needs to learn. So, instead of putting your baby in a walker or other device for most of the day, let them roam the floor. Your baby might start out on a blanket on the floor with some toys, but before you know it, he or she will be scooting around in one way or another. As they do this, they will eventually build the muscles needed to crawl, stand, and eventually walk.
4. Get on the Floor
One of the best ways to get your child moving is to actually get on the floor with them. Grab a blanket and lay your baby down with some toys and then sit next to them. You can also lay down, do some yoga, or anything else you need while you sit with your little one. Your presence will help your little one feel more confident when on the ground. Of course, showing your little one how crawling is done can also be a great guide for your child. It will give you the chance to stretch out and move too, which might have previously been hard to do with a little one that requires so much holding.
5. Rolling Toys
Toys are a great way to get your little one moving, but that doesn’t mean you have to go all out and spend a fortune on them. In fact, one of the best toys you can get your child is a simple ball. Children have played with balls for generations, so you know they don’t have to light up and make noises to work. Instead, grab a cheap ball from a dollar store and let your child move to catch it. The only thing you have to keep in mind is the ball’s size. You do not want a ball that will fit in your child’s mouth, nor do you want a ball that is too large. However, a decent sized ball in a bright color will inspire your child to get moving as they work to grab the item.
6. Independent Play
One of the best things you can do for your baby is to allow them to play independently. This is one of the most fruitful types of play as it allows your baby to stop and figure things out on their own. Try placing the baby in a large area where there is nothing harmful. Then, lay baby down and let them explore or try to move around. The larger space will allow your child to scoot, crawl, or simply take in the environment. This is a great way to see how your baby problem solves too.
7. Knee Pads
A lot of babies will shy away from crawling because of the flooring in your home. It actually doesn’t matter if you have carpeted flooring or harder flooring as each individual child will prefer different things. One way to solve this issue is to provide your baby with knee pads. These pads comfortably fit over your little one’s knees which will encourage them to move. Apart from that, the pads will help prevent abrasions from falling or rug burn. These pads can be purchased for cheap in a variety of stores, but you can also make them yourself for next to nothing. There are lots of tutorials online to help you design your own baby knee pads.
8. Reconsider Attire
Sometimes, your baby’s clothes can hold them back. If clothing is too restraining then it might inhibit your baby from moving comfortably, which could detour the crawling process. On the other hand, if clothing is too loose then it might cause your baby to fall or choke. Your best option is to choose clothing that fits comfortably. However, you might also consider just letting your baby roam in their diaper if the house is of a comfortable temperature. This adds to the feeling of freedom which will help your little one learn the motions of crawling.
9. Watch for Limits
One of the most important things that you should consider while your child learns to crawl is to watch for their limits. It is important to know when your child needs a break. Usually, children will slow down when they get tired or become fussy. When this happens, simply move them to a different activity so their muscles can recover and grow. If you don’t keep an eye out for your child’s limits then you might find that your child might not want to work on crawling as much, which will delay progress. It might also make your child fussier during the day due to their body being tired.
10. Hold Back Applause
It is incredibly hard not to cheer for your child when they do something new and exciting. However, your applause is a distraction to your little one. It does take a lot of effort for your little one to get moving on their own. So, when they hear a loud noise they are going to stop and look. If you can continue to applaud every time they crawl then it could delay progress. So, even though it is incredibly tough, try to take a deep breath and yelp with joy under your breath.
Crawling is a great time to help your children gain independence while allowing them to have even more fun. These tips will allow you to encourage the process without spending a small fortune on it. So, cherish the big moments naturally, so you can enjoy the memories without the bills.