Recently I’ve been able to get my hands back on a baby (under 1 year old) and have been loving it. We are at the stage where we are working on transitions and commando crawling, i.e. the movement piece. I love watching movement evolve. Its at this stage that they know they want to get to a certain place and they are utilizing all of their skills thus far to be able to get there. For example, this little girl knows how to roll so she is reaching forward with her arms and rolling on her side. Each time she does this and then rolls back to her belly she has inched a little further forward. In addition, she knows how to push up on her arms and how to bend her knees to get into the position of commando crawling but hasn’t mastered the coordination of the arms and legs, or even left and right. All she knows is that if she pushes up on her arms and bends her legs she can move (this is because we have been giving her assistance to begin to show her and teach her how to coordinate her movements). What ends up resulting is her tush up in the air, her arms trying to push up and pull herself forward and her legs pushing such that she is using her toes to lever herself forward. And, using these techniques she moves towards her goal centimeter by centimeter. Now, we all realize this isn’t the most efficient way to get to her goal (i.e. the toy she has in her sights) but she is figuring it out and figuring out how her body works together. After each attempt where she struggles through the problem solving of movement, we give her assistance with the correct technique/sequencing as well as cues as to when to time her muscle activation so that she becomes more efficient with each attempt. However, the important part is to give her the opportunity to explore her body and movement and try to piece together the movement so that she is figuring it out. This is just like when a child begins to stand and they bounce in their cribs, alternating between bending and straightening their knees. They are trying to figure out how their quads, gluts and hamstrings all work together. So with each bounce their body is sending messages to their brain about what happened so they can learn to refine the process and be efficient with their muscle activation. Each attempt this little girl makes to move closer to the toy she wants sends messages from her muscles to her brain about what is working and what isn’t working. This is how kids learn to move. If we continue to just pick them up or move them places so that they never have to struggle, we are robbing them of experiences that will affect their continued development as well as their perserverance.
(unfortunately I don’t have video of this but as soon as I have some video I will share!)