Many parents are surprised to find out that their second, third, and fourth children learn to crawl faster than the first one. This is due, in part, to the fact that children with siblings are trying to play with their big brother or sister, so they try to move faster and earlier than only-children. Most babies learn to crawl between 6 and 10 months old, although some babies learn earlier or later. While babies learn at their own pace, there are some simple steps you can take to help your baby along the way.
1. Get down on the floor and play with your baby.
Get down to your baby’s level and play with him. Crawl around and encourage your baby to try to come to you. Clap and sing for your baby, even if it makes you feel silly. It’s important to make sounds around your baby that are playful and joyous. It will make your baby feel happier and he’ll want to try to come with you to play. When a parent teaches their child to swim, they take a few steps out in the water and yell “come on, come to me! You can do it!” The child then has to swim or paddle a foot or two to reach the parent. Learning to crawl has the same basic principles.
2. Buy a crawling toy.
Many stores now offer baby crawling toys. These are basically toys that are designed to play with your baby that your child can crawl to. One of the most popular crawling toys is a small ball that rolls around on its own. The ball makes noises, counts to three, and sings songs. If baby reaches the ball and pushes one of the buttons on it, the ball moves again and baby will want to crawl after it.
3. Make sure your child is comfortable.
If you have hard wood floors, putting down a throw rug or blanket for your baby to lay on can make it more comfortable. Crawling around on a wooden floor can be painful to anyone’s knees – especially your child’s. If you have carpeting, make sure your baby has some pants on so he doesn’t get rug burn on his knees.
Remember to be patient with your baby. Not all children learn at the same pace, and just because your friend’s baby is crawling does not mean that your baby is a slow learner, stupid, or left behind. He will eventually learn to crawl. Remember that his progress is not a reflection on you and even if you do everything in your power to help your child learn, he still may be a later crawler. Your child is still special and wonderful, and there is nothing wrong with a baby who crawls a little later in infancy.