If you see your little one rocking back and forth on her knees, it could mean that she’s ready to start crawling

Most babies learn to crawl between seven and 10 months and become adept at crawling by the time they’re a year old.

Babies adopt different styles of locomotion. With the usual reciprocal crawl, your baby moves around on both her hands and knees. But she might take to another style of mobility like shuffling around on her bum, slithering on her stomach or rolling.

Developmental specialist, Dr Melodie de Jager says that the benefits of crawling include developing postural control, balance, locomotion and manipulation of the body. She also encourages crawling along a variety of surfaces for tactile stimulation.

Dr de Jager shares the following fun tips to encourage your baby to crawl and build her strength:

1. Create an obstacle course

Get down on all fours with your baby and climb over cushions for indoor play, and a tyre or two for outdoor play. Climbing in and out of the tyre develops your baby’s muscles and her upper and lower body joints. She will also appreciate the moral support and you’ll enjoy a different view.

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2. Hide a toy

Build a cave using either a big box or by placing a blanket over a coffee table and put your little one’s favourite toy deep down in the cave and ask her to fetch it. By doing this, you’ll be creating an opportunity for your baby to sense space and problem-solve by figuring out a way to get to the toy and make it out of the cave.

3. Practise tummy time with a difference

Let your baby lie on her tummy on a soft beach ball with your hands around her hips, Now elevate her so she is walking on her hands with her tummy supported by the ball. You can also use an inflatable cylinder for this exercise. Rolling over a ball or the inflatable cylinder helps your baby’s arms carry her weight. If you roll the ball backward your little one will be moving backwards on her knees.

4. Do super sit-ups

To build the strength of her hand, place a soft blanket with your legs in a “V” and gently place your baby on her back in front of you. With her feet facing you, take her hands and allow her to grasp your fingers for support while you help her do sit-ups.

5. Encourage your paratrooper

Form a triangle from a tea towel or towelling nappy and place it on the floor. Gently place your baby on her tummy on the rectangle with its ends sticking out on both sides, and gradually pull the ends upwards. Your baby’s body will automatically move into an all-fours position, and her hands and knees should touch the ground before you gently rock her forwards and backwards. Do this daily, until your baby starts to show signs of pushing up to crawl.

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