Thought I would add another fun/educational category to my blog.
I see a number of patients that are delayed for whatever reason and then learn they have a few interesting quirks that their parents find cute/adorable. Though they see it as cute, as a pediatric physical therapist, I find as an impediment to meeting their gross motor milestones or affecting their development.
So the first one I will discuss is- Bottom Scooting.
I agree that bottom scooting looks really cute, but I also become concerned if I notice that a child’s arms are nowhere near touching the ground and that those kids are sitting very upright.
Crawling on hands and knees is a complicated process that involves coordinating your arm movement with your leg movement. If everything isn’t in sync, then you will most like not go anywhere, and if you do move, you certainly won’t be moving very fast. Crawling also increases shoulder and arm strength, as well as ab strength, as your baby has to work hard to hold their tummy off the floor. Which is why holding planks are great exercises for ab strengthening for adults.
So… if your baby only likes to bottom scoot, they are missing out working on their hand/eye hand/leg coordination, and missing out on strengthening their shoulders and abs.
Why is strengthening arms and abs important? Having stronger shoulders and arms means they’ll be able to protect themselves better when they fall when they’re learning to walk. Stronger abs means they will have more strength to work on standing up straight and maintaining their balance when they do learn to walk.
I’ve also noticed that a number of my patients that bottom-scoot are also very scared to try stepping forward without holding onto anything. I’m guessing this is because bottom scooting places them in a very up-right position where usually lean back a little as they scoot forward so their hips don’t get used to working on holding their torsos up.
Hand/eye coordination is important because after we start walking we use that skill all day long 🙂
Some methods I use to encourage crawling and making bottom scooting difficult:
1- place obstacles in their path that are too big to bottom-scoot over
-couch cushions, thick blankets, rolled blankets, big pillows
2- you can take them to a play place and place them on an incline and see how they move up the incline. I sometimes use couch cushions to make a ramp.
3- the usual method of placing them on their hands and knees and preventing them from moving into a bottom scooting position
You can view the video below to see what it looks like.