Should babies learn to walk before they can crawl?

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1. Does learning to crawl matter?

Learning to walk is seen as such an important milestone in life that many parents encourage their children to get up on their feet, waiting excitedly for the special moment when their baby takes their very first steps.

Many experts believe, however, that the skills babies develop on all fours are so important that we should actually be focusing on getting babies crawling instead of rushing them to walk.

There’s lots of research to suggest that spending a good stretch of time crawling as a baby can significantly improve our ability to do things like climbing, writing and even driving a car later in life.

2. Why crawling is important

Did you know crawling develops all these vital skills?

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Select an area of development to find out how crawling helps babies learn to do everything from reading a map to catching a ball and making decisions!

3. How to help babies learn to crawl

There are lots of things you can do to help your baby’s physical development before they learn to walk. This video takes you through everything from tummy time, to reading with your baby and helping them learn to crawl.

4. Getting physical

Babies are learning and growing so fast at this age that everything they see and touch teaches them new things about the world. Check out the following ideas to help boost your baby's physical development through play.

Putting babies on their tummy on the floor with lots of different objects to explore will stimulate them to get moving. You don’t need expensive toys for this – try crinkly newspaper, shiny wrapping paper, metal saucepans and wooden spoons instead!

baby reaching for stacking cups on floor

Try putting a few things slightly out of your baby’s reach on the floor, this could be just the motivation they need to start crawling!

Woman holding baby's hands

Your baby’s very favourite toy at this age is you! They will be fascinated by the sight of your face and the sound of your voice, so games where they can see and hear you will be the most motivating for them.

baby and Mum lying on tummies, reading

Reading books and letting them turn the pages is great for developing their fine motor skills and learning to track and scan with their eyes

Baby peeping out of plastic tunnel

If your child went straight to walking, crawling games in pop-up tunnels, soft-play centres or even old cardboard boxes can deliver the same developmental benefits

5. How crawling helps us as adults

Did you know crawling can help us do all these things in later life?

Writing

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Writing

Crawling develops fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination needed for writing with a pen or pencil.

Reading

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Reading

Crawling helps babies learn to track objects with their eyes and change focus, essential for reading.

Dealing with failure

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Dealing with failure

Taking the regular calculated physical risks involved in crawling helps babies learn about their limitations and how to overcome them.

Parallel parking

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Parallel parking

Crawling helps teach babies to navigate their environment and assess distance and size or object.