BABY’S GREAT ADVENTURE. Baby’s ability to move and mobility development.




Baby’s Level 2 OMSDEP: Her mobility development intentions:


  • At first, to become a competent Level 2 crawler who can travel about her world. Then, to become a competent creeper who can still travel about her world but now more easily and quickly.



From crawling to creeping.


At some time before she is six months old baby should start to move herself across the floor, or down the crawling slope, by pushing or pulling with her legs, feet, toes, arms, hands or fingers. This is a momentous time in her life history.  She will then have mobility control over her arms and legs and is able to decide where on the floor she will go and when. This event, crawling, is the natural culmination of a huge amount of development and thought processing by baby. She has learnt about gravity, developed her sense of touch, can likely now see much better, and is interested in the fascinating world around her. She wants to be involved in the incredible and all new (to her) events that unfold before her eyes each day and at almost every moment. She sees people and what they do. She hears the sounds of speech and music; and cats and dogs, or other animals. She smells food and flowers and experiences the love and playful interaction of her family. This is a great new life and she is ready, willing and able to explore and interact with it all.


Cheered on by her family, baby will make the moves they encourage her to make and, as she finds that particular movements make her move further, she will try them again; to move further again. Soon she will be able to move all of 10 centimetres in one attempt to crawl, when she only moved 5 centimetres the day before.  Each day she will put together the information she learnt previously. She will repeat it, perfect it, and move even further. And she will try any new techniques that she discovers along the way, if they help her to move further, faster or more easily. Baby is like a natural test pilot, she will sometimes test the limits of her ability or beyond, but if she errs she will usually learn from her mistakes and correct her crawling method accordingly. Sometimes a little help from her parents can save her from using her valuable time doing exhaustive and time consuming tests. You might help her, for example, by placing her on a slight downhill slope, or on a smoother floor which has less drag, or by very occasionally placing her where she can push her feet against a wall to get more forward thrust.  


Opportunity is crucial to success:


If baby never has an opportunity to crawl she will never learn to crawl.  Or, if her opportunities to crawl are limited, she may not learn to crawl as early, easily and as well as she could. For this reason baby should be given every opportunity to learn about crawling that she possibly can be given. Those opportunities, such as by spending most of her day on the floor, are described in Baby’s Great Adventure, Mobility Level 1 (Chapter 5).


 When Baby’s Great Adventure, Mobility Level 2 is completed baby will move from being a crawler to being a creeper. A crawler moves across the floor face down and with her chest to the floor, pushing with her feet and pulling with her arms. Baby soon discovers that this is a comparatively slow way to travel that requires considerable effort; and she decides that there must be a better way to travel. She sees adults up in the air on their feet and perhaps sees other children creeping on their hands and knees. Being an intelligent ‘test pilot’ she follows their examples and eventually learns how to get onto her hands and knees and creep. This greatly reduces the drag effects of gravity and friction on her body and she can greatly increase her movement speed. 


Most children need close to the same amount of crawling experience before they can learn how to creep.  Age apparently has very little influence upon learning movement; it is the amount of experience that matters. Most children will start to creep when they can crawl 50 meters each day. 


Fifty metres of crawling each day means the total crawling baby does in one day; that is, in twenty four hours. Parents can estimate when baby is likely to begin creeping by adding together all the short and long crawls she makes during one full day. If, for example, baby crawls 1.5 metres ten times, 5 metres twice and 3 metres six times then her total crawling for the day is 43 metres. If parents estimate that baby crawls one metre further each day then they can reasonably expect that she will begin creeping in seven more days. When she does begin to creep baby will begin slowly and she will crawl when she needs to hurry from one place to another. As her creeping expertise increases she will crawl less often and creep more often. 


How to help a crawler become a creeper:


How then can we best help crawling baby to get the natural experience she needs to become creeping baby? The obvious answer is to improve her crawling environment so she can get all the crawling experience she wants and needs to crawl about 50 meters per day. She should then become a creeper. 


We can help crawling baby become creeping baby by maintaining a happy floor environment throughout the day. This includes dressing her in ‘crawling friendly’ clothes and cheering her on each time she attempts to crawl and thereafter whenever she crawls.  We can also encourage her to crawl by placing favoured objects such as toys close by, but just outside her reach, so she has to crawl to get to them.  A parent or friend can also encourage baby to crawl a short distance to him or her by calling and then joyously hugging her when she does so. As she becomes a more proficient crawler the attractions can be placed further away so she has further to crawl. But be sure never to place the attractions too far away or baby may not succeed in reaching them. The secret of success is to ensure that baby has fun and always succeeds. 


When she has crawled sufficiently to become a creeper baby will begin to lift herself up onto her hands and knees and rock back and forth as she practices balancing in the creeping position. She might fall on her face several times practicing this and it is helpful then if the floor is carpeted and soft rather than hard. As usual the family cheer group can encourage her on. Assist her if she needs some help to get up into, or down from, the creeping position but minimise your intervention so she remains in charge of the process and learns how to do it herself. If she is like billions of other babies she will soon teach herself how to get up into, and down from, the creeping position.


Create an excellent floor environment


A smooth polished timber, vinyl, smooth tiled or similar floor is ideal for crawling. The floor should be such that baby can get a good grip with her feet and arms; but also be able to slide easily across it on her clothed chest. Pieces of loosely laid vinyl usually need to be thick or fixed firmly to a floor so they do not gather as baby tries to push or pull herself across them. Carpet usually causes too much drag for crawling, especially when baby is just beginning. Once she is able to crawl a half-meter or more, a downhill slope on beach sand can be helpful and fun providing that the sand is not so soft that she bogs down. 


A carpeted floor is preferable for creeping, as it is less likely to give baby sore knees from creeping across it.



Activities for parents and babies:


A list of activities follows. These are practical activities for children to do with their parent’s help. parents create the environment baby requires to complete her OMSDEP.  In many cases, these activities are the environment required and, after commencement, promote baby’s excellent natural development. 


The activity list sometimes includes extracts of preceding sections as well as new information. The list is intended for use as a day to day checklist for quick and easy reference but, to fully understand and participate in the activities, parents may need to re-read the entire Level, or other parts of this book, from time to time.



  1. If baby is not attempting to crawl by the time she is six months old, or if you have reasons for believing she can use a little extra help, you might provide that help by using a downhill sloped crawling slope as described in Level 1. 


  1. Baby should spend most of her day on the floor as described in Level 1. Maintain a happy floor environment throughout the day. Ensure her crawling environment provides her with the crawling experience she wants and needs to become a creeper. She needs the opportunity to gradually build up to 50 metres crawling each day.  Give her every opportunity to learn about crawling that she can be given. Cheer her on each time she attempts to crawl and thereafter whenever she crawls. 


  1. Ten times each day get down on the floor with baby and encourage her to crawl. Use a happy and enjoyable technique such as calling her to you and conveying your great joy to her if she only moves a millimetre. Or encourage her to crawl over to a favourite toy, gradually increasing the distance she needs to crawl to it.  Avoid ever expecting her to crawl further than she can. The secret of success is to ensure that baby has fun and always succeeds. Try to live ‘Japanese style’ on the floor to encourage baby’s floor activities.


  1. Never put baby in a bouncer or other restrictive apparatus such as a cot or ‘walker’. Always carry baby on your hip or in a snuggle pack and avoid using a pram or stroller. 


  1. Read  “Level 1 Baby’s Great Adventure” (Chapter 5) again to refresh your knowledge about crawling. 


Clothing for crawling: See “Activities for parents and babies:” Level 1.


Clothing for creeping: See “Activities for parents and babies:” Level 3.



What baby should be doing at this Level of development:


  • Making her first attempts to crawl by her own conscious decision. 


  • She should increase her daily crawling from a few centimetres to about 50 metres each day.


  • She should begin to lift herself into the creeping position at the end of this level. 


What baby should be doing as she enters the next Level of development:


  • She should begin creeping on her hands and knees.



An average child is likely to move on to Level 3 at approximately age 9 months.


A Natural Parenting child could potentially move on to Level 3 at approximately age 6 months.