How To Encourage Baby to Crawl: 7 Best Baby Crawling Tips

The old saying goes, “You’ve gotta walk before you can run.” And in the same way, your baby’s gotta crawl before they can walk!

When babies start crawling, it's a crucial developmental milestone that helps with their gross motor development. While it may look like crawling is just your baby’s way of getting from point A to point B, it’s actually so much more: crawling is vital for building up muscles in the shoulders, hips, core, and back that your baby will need to eventually walk, run, jump and climb; develop spatial sense (Can they fit under that table? Into that box?); and gain coordination and confidence.

There’s no “right” age for when babies start crawling and every baby reaches this milestone at their own pace—but if you’re eager to get your little one crawling, we’ve got some tips on how to encourage your baby to crawl. Read on to learn more.

What Age Do Babies Crawl?

Every baby develops at their own speed so there is not a set “crawling age” when babies automatically start to crawl. Most babies start crawling when they’re between 8 to 12 months old.  

Your baby’s pediatrician can give you good insight into when they may be ready to crawl - and then how to encourage your baby to crawl. But if you are curious about how close your baby is to hitting this exciting milestone, look for these telltale signs: 

  • Your baby has the neck, arm, and core strength to sit up unassisted 
  • Your baby pivots to reach for toys during tummy time 
  • Your baby pushes up onto their hands and knees and can scoot or creep forwards or backwards when they’re lying on their tummy 
  • Your baby rocks back and forth on their hands and knees

How to Teach Baby to Crawl

Want to encourage your baby to move through the stages of crawling a little faster? Try incorporating these activities into your daily routine to get baby zooming around on their hands and knees: 

  1. Maximize Tummy Time: Tummy time isn’t just about play. It’s essential for helping your baby build core muscles they need to crawl. To help those muscles develop and get your baby crawling, gradually increase the amount of time they spend on their tummies, either on a blanket laid out on the floor or in a playard like the Breeze® Plus or Breeze® Go, which provide a safe and spacious spot for extended tummy time.  
  2. Create a Motivating Environment: Don't just spend more time on tummy time—make it more fun! Arrange brightly colored toys just out of your baby’s reach to encourage them to stretch and reach out to grab them. If you’ve got the space, a playroom just for baby can be set up with soft flooring, engaging sensory activities, and stimulating toys to motivate your baby to play and explore.  
  3. Use Elevated Play: It takes a lot of muscles to crawl around, but you can encourage babies to start crawling by giving them a little full body “workout” to pump them up by sliding a small pillow, rolled up towel, or stuffed animal under their chest to prop them up into crawling position. A playard with a firm but cushioned surface is an ideal spot for elevated play because the padding provides a soft-landing spot if they topple onto their belly or face. Just be sure to never leave your baby unattended in a playard with pillows, blankets or stuffed animals.  
  4. Limit Time in Baby Holders: Baby gear like walkers, bouncers, and high chairs have their place, but if you rely on them too much they can limit your baby’s natural movement and slow their development. Part of how to teach your baby to crawl involves gradually easing up on the amount of time your baby spends in their walker or bouncy seat and limiting the use of the high chair to feeding time only. (This is a good time to start babyproofing the house—your baby may not be moving around on their own quite yet, but that time is coming and it’s important that your home is safe for your baby to explore without worry.) 
  5. Model Crawling Behavior: Your little one is a natural mimics, so if you really want to get babies to start crawling, get down on the floor and show them how it’s done. Older siblings can get in on the fun too, making it a hilariously memorable family activity for everyone to enjoy. You may want to capture the moment for your baby’s monthly milestone pictures to create a lasting memory of this fun family moment. 
  6. Stay Patient and Positive: As you explore how to encourage baby to crawl, stay patient. Give your baby positive reinforcement—a gentle pat or rub on the back or encouragement in a soothing but peppy voice—every time they take the next step towards crawling. Celebrating every little achievement will motivate them and you to keep working towards this developmental milestone.

Variations in developmental milestones are normal, but if you’re feeling frustrated or concerned that your baby isn’t moving through the stages of crawling as you expect, talk to your baby’s pediatrician.

Get Ready to Go!

Crawling is a key part of your baby’s developmental journey—and by following the steps outlined above for how to teach your baby to crawl, you may be able to help your little one reach this milestone a little faster. If you have concerns about your baby crawling, talk to your baby’s doctor for advice and remember to be patient as you (both!) move towards this exciting milestone!