Friday, June 5, 2009

Physical Friday: Crawling

First an explanation and apology: So Brent's been gone about 2 weeks now at training for the Air Force. Before he left I thought it would be great to use the time in the evening after the girls were in bed to blog, catch up on reading and get the house work done. Maybe even some of my sewing projects, too! That was so naive! The truth, I've been completely exhausted and when I sit down, I have the hardest time getting back up again. I've completely lost my stamina and I feel like my brain shuts off at 8:10 when the girls are finally asleep. Ugh. It's been a lot harder than I thought it would be. I apologize for not posting more regularly the last couple of weeks. My goal is to be better! But, we're also moving in three weeks so I'm working on packing up the house.

Just as not all children crawl at the same age, not all children crawl the same way! The standard image of crawling is the baby on hands and knees with belly lifted off the ground. Other forms of crawling include the army crawl where the baby sprawls on the floor and uses arm strength to pull his body along; the scoot where the baby is in a sitting position and scoots her body to her feet then extends the feet out and scoots the body again; the hand-foot crawl where the baby moves along on hands and feet instead of knees. Most babies perfect one or more of these forms of movement before learning to walk.

It's vitally important to note, though, that crawling is NOT a standard developmental milestone. It's perfectly acceptable for babies to bypass the standard image of crawling all together and get right to walking. I have heard tell that babies who don't crawl but go straight to walking are poor readers. From the academic research I found, that information is not supported. I did find some rather interesting stuff, though!

Crawling is a complex system of movement. Babies must learn and master a long list of skills before finally figuring out how to put them all together to crawl. Obviously babies must learn how to hold their head up and how to get up on their hands and knees. But they also must learn how to rock back and forth while on their hands and knees. Finally, they need to learn how to move opposite arms and legs simultaneously, i.e., right arm out with left leg back. This skill is learned and improved as babies learn to reach for objects and begin to realize they can move their whole body in order to reach a desired object.

Once babies learn to sit, they pick up on clues about depth perception in their surrounding environment. When children have been sitting alone for a while, they are able to make good decisions about how far to reach for objects and whether they should reach for objects across an open space. When babies become crawlers, they have to relearn the appropriate clues to depth at this new level. That's why new or inexperienced crawlers will crawl right off the edge of the bed or stairs after an object (or an older sister like Elli did earlier this week!) With practice, though, babies learn what's safe and what's not. The next time Elli approached the stairs she backed up, sat up and looked at me for help! They learn so fast.


Melitsa said...

Take your time Amber. It's hard when you're on your own especially when you're used to having support.
Interesting you should mention crawling today. I was having a convo with someone about that. I was sure I read somewhere about the cross lateral movement of the arms and legs helps build connections in the brain between the left and right side. I'll have to find that book now-lol
Just curious... I wonder why it's not a standard developmental milestone?

Rebecca is Thrilled by the Thought said...

My daughter crawled with one foot on the ground and one knee on the ground. We think it was because she wore a lot of dresses while she learned to crawl, and she kept getting them caught. It was a sight to see!

Amber said...

Thanks, Melitsa. As far as I know, it's not a standard milestone because not all children do it and it's not an indicator of a developmental delay. I'm curious about the book!

Rebecca: Aren't kids so adaptable!

Amy Webb said...

Interesting post. I had heard the thing about crawling and reading too...good to know it's not true. Good luck with the move!

SkylarKD said...

Hope you're coping well while he's away!
We're not a military family, but we live close to a base and a lot of our neighbors are. I have the utmost respect for the wives who can hold down the fort for weeks and months at a time while their spouses are away at training and overseas!
Take some time to relax after long days; don't feel obligated to do too much else - you need the rest!

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