Planking 101: Why Is My Baby Planking Instead of Crawling?

Wondering why your baby is planking instead of crawling? Here, we explain what baby planking is and its importance in your baby’s development. Read on.

Read time: 5 mins

Planking 101: Why Is My Baby Planking Instead of Crawling?

Planking 101: Why Is My Baby Planking Instead of Crawling?

Wondering why your baby is planking instead of crawling? Here, we explain what baby planking is and its importance in your baby’s development. Read on.

Read time: 5 mins

Babies grow and develop at their own pace, reaching various milestones along the way. One of these exciting milestones is planking, which occurs before babies start crawling. 

If you’ve noticed your baby in the planking position and have wondered what it means, you’re in the right place. Here, we explain what baby planking is, its significance in your baby’s development and tips to support your little one as they learn to crawl

What is baby planking?

baby planking on bed

Baby planking refers to a specific position that babies adopt when they are preparing to crawl. When planking, your baby will balance on their hands and toes with their body lifted off the ground in a plank-like position. This stage is an important step before your little ones start crawling, as it helps to strengthen their muscles and develop the coordination necessary for independent movement.

Why is my baby planking instead of crawling?

The planking stage is a natural progression in your baby’s development, which means it’s normal for your baby to be planking instead of crawling. As babies grow and gain strength, they explore different positions and movements. 

Planking allows them to engage their core muscles, shoulders and arms, preparing them for the more complex task of crawling. It also helps to develop their balance, coordination and spatial awareness, essential skills for future mobility.

Signs that your baby is ready to plank

baby lying on floor with dog

Babies typically start planking between the ages of six and nine months, though this timeline can vary. Look out for these signs that your little one is ready to enter the planking stage:

  • Increased upper body strength: Your baby may start to push up onto their hands during tummy time, showing improved strength in their arms and shoulders.
  • Rocking back and forth: You may notice your baby rocking back and forth on their hands and knees during playtime, a sign that they are preparing to move forward.
  • Lifting their belly off the ground: Your baby may attempt to lift their belly and bottom off the floor, practising the plank position.
  • Increased interest in their surroundings: As babies become more aware of their environment, they may show a desire to explore and move independently.

If you observe these signs, it’s an exciting indication that your baby is progressing towards crawling.

How planking helps your baby’s development

Planking plays a crucial role in a baby’s overall development and indicates that your child is getting ready to start crawling. Here are some of the ways planking can help your baby develop their crawling skills. 

  • Strengthening of core muscles: Planking engages the core muscles, including the abdominal and back muscles. This helps to improve overall stability and posture.
  • Development of upper body strength: As babies balance on their hands and toes, they strengthen their arms, shoulders and chest muscles, laying the foundation for future movements.
  • Enhancement of coordination and balance: Planking requires babies to coordinate their movements and maintain balance. This helps them develop spatial awareness and refine their motor skills.
  • Preparation for crawling and other milestones: Planking serves as a stepping stone towards crawling, which is an important milestone in a baby’s development. It helps babies gain the necessary strength and coordination to move independently.

Tips to support your baby through the planking stage

child lying next to stuffed animal on bed

As a parent, you play a vital role in supporting your baby’s development. While every child develops at their own pace, you can help your little ones reach their essential milestones through everyday activities and behaviours. 

Here are some tips to encourage your little one during the planking stage:

  • Incorporate regular tummy time: Tummy time is crucial for building the necessary muscles and skills for crawling. Play with your baby on their tummy for short periods throughout the day, gradually increasing the duration as they grow. Engage them with toys and encourage them to lift their head and chest, push up onto their hands and reach for toys. Placing toys slightly off the floor will encourage this. 
  • Provide a safe and stimulating environment: Create a safe space for your baby to explore and practice their movements.  Remove any hazards, ensure a soft and clean surface for them to play on and offer age-appropriate toys that encourage reaching and grasping.
  • Offer support and encouragement: During tummy time and play sessions, offer gentle support and connection to your baby. Offer words of praise and encouragement to boost their confidence and motivation, sing to them, make playing on their tummies exciting as it can be hard work for them. Help them move off their tummy when they are showing signs that they are done with tummy time. 
  • Engage in interactive play: Get down on the floor with your baby and demonstrate crawling movements. Show them how to rock back and forth on their hands and knees or crawl towards a favourite toy. This interactive play can inspire and motivate your baby to imitate your movements.
  • Allow for independent exploration: While it’s important to provide support, you should also allow your baby to explore and move independently. Try to resist the temptation to intervene or put everything within arms reach, as this can hinder their progress. Allow them to practice their movements and learn from their experiences.
  • Be patient and celebrate progress: Every baby develops at their own pace, so it’s important to be patient and avoid comparing your child to others. Celebrate each milestone and any progress your baby makes, whether it’s a few seconds of planking or a successful crawl. Your support and encouragement will go a long way in fostering their development.

Main types of crawling in babies

types of crawling

As your baby learns to crawl, they’ll begin moving their bodies in different ways. It’s perfectly normal for your little one to start crawling in some odd positions. 

Take a look at some of the main types of crawling in little ones. 

When to seek professional advice

While it’s normal for your baby to be planking before crawling, it’s essential to be aware of any concerns or delays with your child’s development. Contact a healthcare professional if:

  • Your baby shows no interest in attempting to get into a crawl position or plank by the age of nine months.
  • Your baby cannot sit by themselves by eight months. 
  • Your baby is unable to bear weight on their arms and legs or lacks upper body strength.
  • Your baby consistently favours one side of their body over the other, showing limited mobility on the other side.

These signs may indicate the need for further evaluation by a pediatric physiotherapist. Early intervention can address any underlying issues and support your baby’s progress.

Our physiotherapists will help you support your child on the road to crawling

Baby planking is an exciting stage in a baby’s development, marking their progress towards independent mobility. By understanding the significance of planking and providing the right support, you can help your baby build the necessary strength and coordination for crawling.

At Ready Steady Therapy, we’ll help your little one reach their early development milestones. If you’re concerned about your baby’s development, get in touch with our friendly physiotherapists and we’ll ensure your child is on the right track. 

Remember to create a safe and stimulating environment, offer encouragement and celebrate each milestone your baby achieves. Enjoy this special stage in your baby’s journey as they prepare to explore the world around them! 

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