Encouraging baby to crawl


When your baby starts to move around, you’ll find everything changes. Where she was once happy to sit and play with a basket of toys you gave her, now she’s out and about on her own, looking for things to get into. With a bit of thought and planning, it’s easy to incorporate your baby’s natural interest in getting around into the play experiences you provide for her. Keeping her busy and interested gives her extra opportunities to develop those all-important motor skills.

Starting out
We all know you have to crawl before you can walk, so when your baby shows those first signs of wanting to move around, why not help her out? n Put some of her toys slightly out of reach. This will mean she has to move herself to get them. It’s even more motivating if they’re some of her favourites. Be sure to still put a few within her reach so she doesn’t get too frustrated.

❋ Include a ball in her toy basket. Balls naturally roll away. If your baby is really intent on playing with the ball, she will try to chase it.
❋ Make a tunnel with a large cardboard box. Dangling a few items on the end of it with some string gives your baby extra incentive to crawl through.

Making it safe
Once your baby starts to move around, it’s important she has the freedom to do so. Equally important is making sure her play space is safe. This is a prime time for accidents and injury and, according to the Kidsafe website (, “More children die of injury than die of cancer, asthma and infectious diseases combined.” Get down at her level and take a good look around the room she spends most of her time playing in.

Be on the lookout for:
❋ Sharp edges. Remove them if possible and if not, buy some baby-safe products to cover them with.
❋ Power points. Cover them up with furniture or, if that’s not possible, buy some outlet covers.
❋ Small objects. Small items can choke your baby and should be removed even if they seem to be out of her reach. A great rule to follow is if it smaller than a 10c piece, it can be harmful.
❋ Unsteady items. Once your baby is on the go, it won’t be long before she is trying to pull herself to stand. If she does this using something that is unsteady, she may fall and the item may fall on top of her. Use brackets to secure large items to the wall and remove smaller unsteady items from the room.
❋ Blinds and curtains. Children love blinds and curtains as they make a fun place to hide! But their cords can be a strangulation risk, so be sure to move them right away from your baby’s reach.

For more safety information and to download a free Home Safety Checklist, visit and click on your state or territory.

Having fun
Now your baby is moving around, she’ll be looking for things to explore and ways to practice her newfound skills. A great way to encourage this is to set up little ‘play stations’ around the room, instead of leaving all her toys in one place (see above for ideas). Leave each station a metre or so apart, so your baby can see the next activity. She’ll enjoy crawling to each, stopping to play with what’s there before moving on to the next spot.

Finding you
Your baby will enjoy spending time playing and exploring on her own, and it’s important she learns to enjoy her own company and to solve problems and work things out independently. Still, at this young age, you are her most favourite and important plaything and so, when she is taking a break from being independent, it’s essential that she can easily find you.

Set yourself up so that you can be away from her, but still within hearing distance and in a place she can easily locate you herself. This will reassure her about playing on her own. It’s then most likely that she will come and have a quick visit and play with you before returning to her own play space.

It’s also a great idea to include some toys where you are. If it’s in the kitchen, you might like to have some baby-safe magnets on the fridge, or, if it’s in another room, a basket of different toys on the floor will be a fun discovery.

Related articles:
When should a baby start to walk?
Tummy time: how to make it work