When Do Babies Start Crawling?
Ah, the age-old question: When do babies learn to crawl? Every new parent worries if their baby meets each milestone on time, and crawling is a big one.
It's one of the first steps between graduating from babyhood to toddlerhood, so when can you expect those first wiggles across the floor? Let's find out.
The Average Age to Start Crawling Is ...
Drum roll, please. The average age for babies to begin crawling is 8 months. If your baby hasn't started crawling by then, it's probably nothing to worry about. The average age is just that — an average.
Some babies start crawling as early as 6 months old, but many don't crawl until 10 or 11 months. There's a big variance, so if your 9-month-old hasn't started wiggling over to terrorize the family dog yet, don't sweat it.
In fact, consider yourself lucky, because once babies can get from place to place on their own, you'll have to babyproof absolutely everything.
Crawling Methods Vary
There's no right and wrong way to crawl. While movies usually show babies crawling on hands and knees, tiny humans aren't programmed to crawl a certain way. They're wired to get moving, and there are numerous ways of doing so.
Some babies prefer to do an army crawl type of movement laying on their bellies. Others crawl on hands and feet like a baby bear. Some tots are fans of scooting around on their bottoms, or simply rolling sideways until they get where they wanted to go.
Every baby has their own preference, so if your little one seems to find classic crawling uncomfortable, it's no big deal. As long as they're developing their own way of getting from point A to point B, they're right on track.
How to Encourage Your Baby to Crawl
The age at which babies begin crawling varies a lot, but some of that variance is determined by environment. Babies who are given lots of "tummy time" tend to learn to crawl earlier than those who aren't.
Tummy time involves placing babies on their bellies while they're awake, giving them a chance to build up their arm, leg, neck and shoulder muscles. It also helps them learn to control their muscles and balance on all fours.
Tummy time should always be supervised, but it's tons of fun to watch a new little person figure out how to use their chubby arms and legs. At first, they might not like tummy time at all, but pretty soon, they'll realize learning to move is fun.
They'll likely hop on that old "planking" trend, learn to rock back and forth on hands and knees, and practice moving forward or sideways. To help motivate them, try placing a toy or a baby-friendly snack just out of reach.
These stages don't happen overnight. As excited as you are to see your baby crawl for real, don't forget to appreciate every step of the journey.
When to Worry
If your baby is 10 or 11 months old and hasn't started crawling, don't panic. Some babies never crawl, opting to pull up and cruise on furniture instead. Others just skip straight to walking.
For the most part, babies get there when they get there. Crawling early, late or never isn't much of an indicator of future intelligence or athleticism, so let it happen when it happens.
If your baby hasn't started moving independently, whether via crawling, scooting, cruising or walking, by 12 months of age, it's time to check in with your pediatrician. If they favor one side of their body over the other, that's another signal to schedule a checkup.
Parental instinct also goes a long way, so ask your child's doctor if something doesn't feel right to you. Being extra cautious can't hurt, and in the unlikely event that there is a problem, early intervention does wonders.
Crawling Tips From an Expert
Many members of the FamilyMinded media team are parents themselves, but you don't have to take it from us.
Here are a few tips from a licensed occupational therapist on helping your baby learn to crawl.