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Helping Baby Learn to Crawl and Walk

Bedtime Routines, Toys for Infants, Walkers

Crawling and walking can be some of the most exciting times for parents. Suddenly an active participant with the world around them, it can be a joy to watch a baby learn to crawl or walk. There are some ways to help encourage crawling and walking in a child who is just learning the ropes or who is on the verge of becoming a crawler or a walker themselves.

Place toys just out of reach.
Placing toys just out of baby’s reach provides a unique challenge to a baby who is on the verge of crawling. Can they roll to get it? Can they stretch their arms just enough to reach? Don’t let the baby become overly frustrated by the challenge, but give them a minute to see if they can work out how to move themselves in order to reach the toy they want.

Help baby up on hands and knees.
If your baby seems able to scoot around by dragging their body on their arms, consider helping them get into the right position for crawling, up on their hands and their knees. Once my daughter saw that she could move around this way, it was her preferred mode of movement.

Purchase an exersaucer/walker/pushtoy.
Whichever toy you choose, these three items are great at helping baby get the hang of moving around. An exersaucer or walker can help develop leg strength before crawling or walking takes place, and a pushtoy is good for early walkers who need a little help with balance.

Provide opportunities for cruising.
Once baby can crawl, they may be interested in cruising around on the furniture. Help baby stand up holding on to a couch, and they may be interested in holding on and making the rounds. Cruising was the stage between crawling and walking for both of my daughters.

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Don’t carry baby everywhere.
If you are going to carry baby everywhere, there is little incentive to crawl or walk on their own. Sit across the room and entice your little one to head your way. Or if you head out of the room for a minute, don’t immediately pick a would be crawler up and carry them with you. Provide incentives and opportunities for baby to crawl and walk on their own.

Consider a Gymboree class.
We started a Gymboree class just before my daughter was crawling, and she was the only child in our class who wasn’t moving around yet. Talk about an incentive to get moving! Watching all the other kids go, as well as the fun toys and blocks for crawling around, was all the enticement that she needed to get going.

Spend time with other crawlers and walkers.
If Gymboree is too expensive or not available in your area, consider simply spending time with other crawlers and walkers. My oldest child learned to crawl earlier than she may have otherwise from spending time with her daycare provider’s son, who was a few months older than she was.

Hold hands.
Is your baby crawling and cruising with ease, but still afraid to let go and walk on their own? Hold baby’s hands and have him or her walk to you. Letting go of one hand occasionally can help a walker learn balance, and if they fall on their bum, you are right there to help them back up. Following baby’s lead is important, but so is giving opportunities for them to learn and grow.

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These are some ways to help encourage crawling and walking in a child who is just learning the ropes or who is on the verge of becoming a crawler or a walker themselves.