Saturday, December 4

Forcing your child to walk is doing him no favors

Two mothers chat at the school gate while they wait for their respective children to come out. They are joined by another father who has just arrived and has been interested in the topic of conversation they were having. “Well, my daughter, the little one, there is no way she can walk, she just has to crawl, and it would be time for her to start …”, says one of them worried. “Mine hardly even crawled, she began to walk by herself super early, she is a machine,” replies the father.

The other mother silently watches the conversation. It is considered whether to intervene or not. But in the end it is launched: “Well, mine walked when it was readyor, yes it is true that it took longer than his older brother… but each one has its own rhythms, right? ”

This last mother hit the nail on the head. Although he did not know whether to contribute his comment to the conversation, because he did not oppose the other two interlocutors, he decided that perhaps this way he could throw a different point of view, one in which he took into account the importance of respecting all stages of development, which are different in each boy and girl. And he was absolutely right.

The importance of crawling for children’s mental development

There is a certain shared belief that if children start to walk earlier it means that they are more advanced or even more intelligent than other children of the same age. Therefore, and following this false myth, many fathers and mothers try to somehow “force” their child to walk and skip the crawling phase, overwhelmed by following the rhythms of other boys and girls.

However, the neuropsychologist, teacher and writer Fernando Alberca, in his book ‘All children can be Einstein’, following the studies of Dr. Pilar Martín Lobo, is in charge of undo this myth with several compelling reasons about the importance of crawling which, like other activities, “is crucial for the child’s mental development”. Let’s see why:

  • With crawling, the child begins to use functions of both sides of the body coordinately.

  • It goes from monocular vision (both eyes are used separately) to biocular or duocular, and later to binocular (the two eyes are used together).

  • Hearing becomes binaural (the two ears work in a coordinated way) and begins to place the sound in space.

  • Crawling stimulates the sense of touch, hearing and sight.

  • It fosters the connection between two cerebral hemispheres.

  • Facilitate the eye-hand coordination (eye-hand), which will be decisive in the rest of their maturational and intellectual development.

  • It affects laterality of the kids. This will make them more agile to reason over time; safer when faced with challenges; and have a higher level of motivation.

On the other hand, if children develop laterality difficulties:

  • It is likely that, despite your great will and effort in studies or school assignments, do not spend much time and it costs them to finish successfully.

  • They confuse this difficulty in laterality with a limited IQ, when in reality it has nothing to do with it.

In they also tell us other difficulties children may develop in this sense:

  • In written language: as dysgraphia, dysorthography and syntax.

  • In oral language: fluency, reading mechanics, retention and reading comprehension.

  • Motor and functional deficiencies.

  • Difficulties with mechanical learning and mathematical reasoning.

  • Difficulties in concentration, compression, communication problems and lack of motivation, among others.

These are some of the effects that our sons and daughters can experience if they do not develop laterality correctly and demonstrate the importance of crawling in the future development of children. So this is where it resides the importance of respect the rhythms of development of each boy and each girl, since a child who does not crawl is very likely to end up having one of these difficulties in the future.

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