Posts Tagged ‘ Infancy ’

Why Crawling Matters … A Lot

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Parents get very excited when a baby takes those first steps. As they should. It’s quite the milestone. But all the fuss about walking can diminish the very real benefits that come from babies moving themselves around their world before they can walk.

There are, in fact, many developmental benefits of crawling, including the obvious all-around opportunities for motor development. Developmentalists detail all kinds of advantages including optimizing sensory processing and integration. Relatedly, there are cognitive benefits that should not be overlooked. When babies are crawling, it gives them a chance to explore their environment and platforms them to manipulate objects. This kind of controlled and active discovery is the stuff of brain development. In the laboratory setting, babies who have more experience crawling are more apt to explore and extract information from objects – and are more advanced at later ages in terms of cognitive development. Babies need that time to take in and integrate their sensory information, and use all their senses (touching is especially important) to formulate the abstract principles that fuel cognitive development. For example, babies who have experience manipulating three-dimensional objects will be more likely to “know” that three dimensions exist when tested in the laboratory setting – their eye movements will continuing scanning images for “hidden” dimensionality in objects that other babies will miss.

All of this may sound rather “academic,” but the intention here is deliberate. It’s very easy to be thrilled seeing a baby walk. It’s not so obvious that a crawling baby is doing all kinds of highly sophisticated cognitive processing (which is more detectable in the laboratory than every day life). What’s the point of all this? Simply put – don’t be in a rush to get your baby to walk. Don’t go out of your way to promote walking when they should be crawling. Babies walk when they are ready to walk. Some do it earlier, some do it later. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is going out of your way to let your baby crawl, and to be able to find safe and interesting objects to explore. There’s a reason babies crawl before they can walk.

Keep track of Baby’s milestones in one place. 

Activity Tips: Nate 12 Months - Help Baby to Crawl
Activity Tips: Nate 12 Months - Help Baby to Crawl
Activity Tips: Nate 12 Months - Help Baby to Crawl

Baby Crawling via Shutterstock.com

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Safe Sleep Guidelines: Beyond Sleep Methods

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

If you have a baby younger than 1 year of age, I hope you have had a chance to review the new guidelines to promote safe sleeping offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) (click here to see the GoodyBlog post on this if you haven’t seen these yet). In addition to providing the latest thinking aimed at keeping your baby healthy and safe, I think these kinds of recommendations serve another important function: they remind us that there are principles to follow that override the often polarizing debates about sleep methods.

In particular, I’d like to emphasize how the AAP is using a platform that combines clinical observations along with research to generate their guidelines. So when they suggest that babies under 1 should NOT sleep in a bed with a parent, but SHOULD sleep in the same room as a parent, they have only 1 thing in mind – the safety of your baby. And notice that their suggestion sort of splits the difference between bed-sharing and cry-it-out: your baby should be close by but not by your side.

Now of course this recommendation applies to the infancy period. As your baby gets older you can start to morph your child’s sleep routine into whatever works for all of you. But I suggest that you remember to consult resources such as those offered by the AAP website to help you make sure that your decisions are executed safely throughout your child’s life.

 

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