Your Child: Birth to 12 Months

Keeping Up with Your Crawler

Pointing to his energetic son who had just learned to crawl, an exhausted father said, "I wish I could strap him to the wall with Velcro for just a few hours a day!"

I could relate. When each of my kids learned to crawl, they climbed like cats. No surface was too high to discourage their attempted ascents. If I wasn't chasing and retrieving them, I was busy trying to stay one step ahead?always on the lookout for potential dangers.

Not surprisingly, research shows that even as parents temporarily rearrange furniture to make way for their new crawlers, this stage permanently rearranges the parent-child relationship. A baby who can come near or move away at will is making her first efforts toward independence.

These changes can lead to heightened emotions all around. You may feel new-found joy when your baby approaches you on her own, but find yourself experiencing a whole new level of frustration when she uses this ability to ignore warnings and move into areas that are off-limits.

At the same time, a crawling baby delights in his expanding world. For the first time, he can go after something he wants and this brings unprecedented pleasure. But he also may express unparalleled frustration when his movement is hampered.

You can reduce the stress level for everyone with these tips:

Provide plenty of time for your baby to practice crawling.

Time spent crawling is time spent learning. Not only is your baby tinkering with independence, researchers say she's also mastering other skills including hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and balance. A study in the Journal of Perceptual and Motor Skills reported that children who miss the crawling experience lag behind their peers in many other areas of development.

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May 25

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