THE USE OF HANDS IN CRAWLING
At 7 months, Madison is crawling beautifully. The motor skill of crawling is important for many reasons, and one of those is the development of baby’s hands. She is now weight bearing on hands and knees as she locomotes around the house. This develops strength in her arms and back. Because she is shifting her weight in this position, she is developing the muscles in her shoulders as well as the strength of her bones. The skill development is faciliatated by open fingers on her hands. She can support her weight more easily and shift her weight more efficiently with extended fingers. For several months she has been grasping and shaking objects, which uses closed fists. Now, the motor skill of crawling demands an open palm and extended fingers on both hands.
THE SENSE OF TOUCH FOR LEARNING
Some babies continue to hold their grasp closed or their fingers slightly curled under as they crawl. Through the sense of touch we can show them the more efficient use of the hands, with the open palm and extended fingers. In the above photos, Madison is learning to extend her fingers as she crawls. I can use my hand to gently open Madison’s fingers and then touch the open fingers to show her how long and extended her fingers can be. As I touch her fingers, she pays more attention to them. In the second photo she stops crawling to look down and see what I am doing. We make the brain pay attention to part of the body as we touch it, this is the foundational theory of neuromuscular body methods. Soon, Madison imitates me by putting her hand deliberately on my fingers. At this age, this imitation of my action is a sign that she is learning what I am teaching her or that we are working with the hands. With repetition, her brain will change the signal so she crawls with extended fingers, the more efficient option. Often babies begin to crawl faster with this improved pattern.