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'EARLY LEARNING'
PRIMER FOR PARENTS

Babies Have
Genius Potential!

International Parenting Association

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    Developing the Child Brain

Creeping and Crawling Foundational
to Child Brain Development

Mobility, part 3, Stages II & III

In the beginning of the crawling stage the infant may move in no recognizable pattern or he may crawl in a frog-like pattern called homologous movement. He may also crawl using the arm and leg together on the same side of the body, which is called a homolateral pattern. The child soon abandons these movements in favor of the most sophisticated pattern, the cross-pattern. In a cross-pattern the left leg and right arm coordinate with the right leg and left arm. We walk and run in a cross-pattern. Nevertheless, a baby may use homologous and homolateral patterns before he develops the cross-pattern, both while he is learning to crawl and later again when he is learning to creep.

Stage II - Crawling

Children who are given abundant opportunity to learn to crawl in an infant track can enter stage II in the pons at 1 month of age, instead of 2 1/2 months, which is the norm. In stage I the newborn gained initial control of his limbs. In stage II he will master crawling. An infant enters stage II when he can crawl 2 or 3 feet non-stop in about 10 minutes. This makes him a beginning crawler.

It is wise to baby-proof your house before a child begins to crawl. You can make the environment safe by seeing that there are no uncovered electrical outlets. Remove cords and lamps and other items a baby could grab and pull over onto himself. See that furniture is stable and that there are no sharp edges or pointed corners. Also, check that there are no splinters on furniture or floors. Remove unsafe objects a baby could put in his mouth or choke on. And keep all poisons and toxic products well out of the baby’s range.

The more crawling a baby does the sooner the child will enter stage III of brain development and begin to creep. The best thing you can do when your baby is learning to crawl is to get down on the floor and provide love and encouragement. If you cheer the baby on and encourage him or her to crawl, your baby will make a greater effort. Your baby is delighted to have your attention, so always give him plenty of love and hugs whenever he crawls to you.

Another thing you can do to encourage crawling is to place toys and safe objects on the floor, out of the baby's reach but not out of his crawling range. Entice him to go after things. When he finally reaches an object let him enjoy it for a while. Immediately taking it away will frustrate and discourage him, which will dampen his eagerness to go after things for you. Dads are sometimes guilty of this. When the baby reaches the teddy bear, dad backs it up so that the baby has to go after it again. It's a fun game for dad but not too much fun for baby.

Your baby will learn to crawl like an expert in stage II if you continue to give him at abundant opportunity daily to master crawling in the track and on the floor. If you encourage him to crawl 15 times, each day, he will soon be crawling in a cross-pattern and will rapidly increase his capacity to 150 feet of crawling in a day. After so much crawling, the baby will then push himself up off the floor onto his hands and knees, which will mark his entry into stage III. This can happen at about 3 1/2 months of age, instead of the average 7 months, if you give your child abundant opportunity to crawl and plenty of encouragement to develop mobility.

Stage III – Creeping

After a baby has developed the cross-pattern and after much crawling, he will get up onto his hands and knees and begin to creep. Having mastered Stage II in the pons, he enters the midbrain area and Stage III of brain development. His infant days are just about over, so you can put away the track and save it for your next child. However, a baby will still be doing a lot of crawling in stage III, especially when he wants to get somewhere fast, but he will be working on learning to creep.

Now that the baby is starting to creep he will be everywhere he can get to in the house. To provide greater opportunity for creeping, just as you would do with a crawling baby, you get down on the floor with the baby and encourage him or her to creep. Creep beside the baby and cheer him on. Play games and have the baby go after you. Continue to use objects to entice the baby, and reward him with love.

In the midbrain area and Stage III of brain development the goal is for the baby to creep 400 yards in a day. (In Stage I, the medulla and cord stage of reflex response, the goal was for the infant to crawl 2 or 3 feet, nonstop, in ten minutes. The goal in Stage II in the pons was to reach 150 feet of crawling in a day.) How quickly your baby reaches mobility goals will entirely depend upon how much opportunity, how much love and encouragement you can provide.

The creeping baby definitely needs long pants and long-sleeved shirts. This goes for girls too. They shouldn't be wearing dresses; they get hung-up in the skirts. A creeping baby should wear socks, but not shoes. Thick rugs are best for learning to creep. Thick rugs are not as hard on elbows and knees. A kitchen floor is not where a beginning creeper does his best.

Your baby will still be crawling in stage III. He's not an expert creeper yet but, day by day, he will gradually do more creeping and less crawling until one day creeping will replace crawling entirely. You can then expect that his next accomplishment will be standing-up.

You help bring your baby to this point in Stage III of brain development by encouraging him or her to creep in many, many short creeping sessions. Doman says to get down on the floor 20 or 30 times a day with the baby and motivate him to creep. This seems like a lot, but the sessions are very brief at first. Then they gradually increase in length of time and decrease in number.

A baby remains in stage III until he is actually walking. One day after much creeping he will pull himself erect, and holding onto a piece of furniture he will stand. He will then pull himself up on every table and piece of furniture he can reach, and holding on to the edge he will walk its whole length. This is called cruising. His days in the midbrain are coming to an end. One day after much cruising, he will come to the end of the sofa and eye the chair and take his first independent steps, from the sofa to the chair. Now, the line is drawn. He has left stage III forever and has entered stage IV of brain development in the initial cortex. If you have given your child extraordinary opportunity to develop mobility from birth, walking can begin at 6 months of age, which would place your child's physical intelligence at the level of genius!

Stages IV through VII to be continued...

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To see enlarged front cover click the cover.

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