The second half of your baby’s first year is an exciting time for mobility.
Every baby is different, but by six months, most babies are rolling over in at least one direction, and are, or will soon be, sitting independently. By eight months, your baby may be on the move in many different ways, rolling, crawling or even scooting, and getting ready to walk!
Knowing that your baby will hit their milestones at their own pace, there are some easy things you can do to encourage your baby to get moving!
1. Dress for movement
You wouldn’t go to the gym in a frilly dress or suspenders, so why expect your baby to be active all dressed up? There is a place for adorable baby clothing but for encouraging movement, soft, well-fitting (not too loose or tight) clothing is best. Weather depending, allow Baby to be barefoot, which can encourage sensory awareness as well as a safe way to start standing and cruising.
2. Use some toys
Babies often have toys they love and you can use these to encourage movement. Find Baby’s favourite toy, or something engaging and brand new, and place it just out of reach. You can try moving it to different parts of a safe play area to encourage exploration. If your baby is standing, you can move toys from one reachable place to another (like a couch to a coffee table) to encourage them to take small steps, with or without support.
3. Begin/keep up tummy time
Most babies are encouraged to do tummy time from birth. Just because your baby can lift their head and roll over doesn’t mean you need to stop this special time. Placing Baby down on their belly to play is a great way to encourage crawling if they aren’t already. Here are some easy tips on how to do it [PDF].
4. Build an obstacle course
As Baby starts crawling, there are ways to make moving even more exciting. Using pillows, blankets, and furniture, you can create an obstacle course for your baby to move over, under, and through. You can be waiting behind a pillow with a surprise “peek-a-boo!” to encourage further movement. Climbing over things will also help improve balance, which is great for encouraging standing and walking.
5. Create a safe space
Baby becoming mobile can be a time of excitement but also nerves. Both you and your baby can benefit from knowing their movement space is a space safe to crawl around in. Having soft floor mats or blankets in a place without small objects (always remind older siblings) will mean that your baby can slip and even fall without too much pain, and you can enjoy this stage without too much worry. Once Baby is starting to pull themselves up to standing, make sure that all furniture is safely standing and moored.
6. Join your baby
Whether it’s during tummy time or exploration sessions, getting down on the ground with your baby is a great way to encourage movement. Lie down next to them, crawl with them, or sit down as they scoot, even letting them use your body for support.
7. Play with others
Making time to play with babies around the same age as your child, as well as a bit older, will give your baby the opportunity to see others like them on the move.
Most of all…
8. Have fun
Babies move at their own pace. Some start early but are then content to sit, while others move right from rolling over to standing! Take safe steps to encourage movement but also enjoy meeting your baby where they are. If you’re concerned about your baby’s mobility, always speak with a healthcare provider.