There are so many, “oh, isn’t that cute,” baby moments, it’s easy to forget that everything young children do is deliberately designed by nature to help them get to the next step of their development.
For instance, there is a short but critical (and super-cute) milestone in young children’s motor development that quite often goes without much notice. It’s the stage between pulling up on all fours and crawling – the stage I call ROCKING. This is the time when he looks a little bit like a cartoon character, rocking back and forth as if he’s revving himself up -- only he can’t seem to get going. Here’s how to read those moves…
Once your child has been able to raise himself up on his hands and knees independently, his natural instinct will be to start crawling. Only, before he can propel himself forward, his body and brain have to overcome the primitive reflex known as ATNR (Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex).
You see, when babies are born, nature provides for their inexperience by supplying them with a series of primitive reflexes. In this case, ATNR is responsible for directing movements essential for navigating the birth canal by coordinating the head, arm, and leg movements towards one side of the body at a time. But this is contrary to the left/right arm and leg movements needed for crawling. So until ATNR is inhibited crawling can’t begin.
And that’s what the rocking is for.
READ THE MOVES Series
Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers often communicate more with their bodies than their voices. As parents and caregivers, it’s important (and just plain fascinating!) to understand that “body language.” With our Read the Moves series, we hope to help you interpret your child’s physical movements so that you can better understand his natural growth process.
READY STEADY GO!
When he begins rocking, get down on the floor and rock right along with him! To encourage him even more, rub his back in a forward motion – and if you’d like, rock it out with this rap song…
Rock! Rock! Rock on the spot.
Rock! Rock! Rock til you flop.
Rock! Rock! All day long.
Rock! Rock! And then MOVE ON!
Go! Go! Go!