Learning to Crawl Forward Essential for Child Development

Is learning to crawl a critical skill for children?  Some child development experts debate the issue.  Some say as long as the child learns to get from place to another, that’s all that matters.  Others consider a mastery of forward-crawling a necessary skill to master.   Count child educator Glenn Domain in that second group.

First, some background.  Crawling is a skill that babies, for as far back as we can trace, have learned usually before learning to walk.  There have been a few instances where a baby goes straight from sitting to walking, skipping the crawling stage altogether.

This is extremely rare, though.  Most go from lying to sitting to crawling to standing to walking.  Usually the crawling stage takes place late in the child’s first year.

However, children crawl in different ways.  There’s the traditional hand and knee technique.  But we’ve all seen children, either in person or on those funny-video TV shows, who crawl in more unusual ways.  Some will slide on their bellies, while a few master the unusual technique of sitting on their bottoms and propelling themselves forward by paddling their legs.  A few even crawl backwards.

There are many pediatrician-author books that state that it’s not an issue if or how a child crawls.  As long as they’re able to get from one place to another, they say, that’s all that matters.

Glenn Doman, who has written extensively on right-brain issues, says a child must learn crawling forward or his brain will not develop as it should.  According to Doman, crawling forward stimulates the child’s brain so that it develops a convergence of vision.

Consequently, children who never master correct forward crawling will often have more trouble reading and writing than those children who forward-crawled correctly. Furthermore, those never mastered crawling might also experience speech difficulties.

While the issue has far from been settled, one thing is certain:  No harm has ever been determined to come from forward-crawling (other than the child bumping his or her head), so a parent might do well to encourage correct crawling to spur correct child development.

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