Parents universally accept baby crawling as THE ONE milestone all infants must master.
But despite this widespread acceptance, few parents realize why teaching a baby to crawl correctly is so important.
Through crawling, babies learn and discover spatial concepts like under, over, in and out.
Crawling also gives babies sensory stimulation through their hands and knees which is vital for gross and fine muscle development.
In short, babies use these fundamental movement skills learned early in their lives to stand, walk and write correctly later on.
Research done previously shows that many children who never crawled properly often struggle with poor balance.
Some of them struggle to ride a bicycle. Others are simply clumsy. And then there are also the ones who often fall and injure themselves.
Many variations of baby movement exist.
But the important question is:
Do all these different ways of crawling give the same benefit?
Does a crawling baby get the same developmental benefit from different variations of movement or locomotion like bear walking, bum shuffling, commando style crawling, ordinary crawling or forward rolling?
The answer in short is NO.
Not all movement "styles" give the same development benefit as "traditional" crawling.
Traditional or normal crawling alternatively uses both arms and knees - straight arms and on knees - to move forward or sometimes even backwards.
Backwards crawling is often found when babies are just learning to crawl. This is a normal development pattern. Nothing to worry about.
Firstly, your baby learn to simultaneously bear weight on both arms and legs.
Secondly, your baby learn to alternatively use opposing arms and legs to move forward which stimulates both brain halves.
Learning to bear weight on arms and legs develops and improves equilibrium and balance.
Babies without this experience almost always struggle with these skills later on. This lack is often obvious in below-average sporting abilities.
Commando style crawling as well as bum shuffling and even rolling forward (specifically only rolling to get from one point to another) do not give the same weight bearing stimulation.
But there's a third more important thing about learning to crawl.
The ability to use both legs and arms to crawl normally is more often than not a good indication that a baby is still developing normally.
Stated a little differently
There's usually a deeper, more important reason that needs further attention should a baby fail to master normal crawling.
It is often due to some physical inability or development delay.
And it's easy for professionals to treat and overcome such inability once it is identified.
A golden rule of thumb is to do so if your baby is 12 months or older and still doesn't crawl.
Perhaps one of the most frequently noted reasons that babies fail in getting a complete crawling development experience is failing to properly master normal baby crawling.
One of the biggest advantages any parent can give their child is to closely measure and monitor development milestones. And one of the most important measurements is their baby's ability to crawl correctly... at the right age.
Read more here about teaching a baby to crawl properly.