It would be easier for parents if babies operated according to a set schedule and pattern. For instance, you baby would get that first tooth at exactly 5 months, and then start talking at the 12-month mark on the dot. In the real world, however, babies can vary wildly in terms of their own development schedule. With this in mind, you may wonder when do babies start crawling. Because your niece started scampering around by 4 months, whereas your friend's kid was closer to the 9 month mark before locomoting.
As with many developmental milestones, you may expect some degree of variation. According to Baby Center, infants generally begin crawling around 6 to 10 months of age. That's already a four-month span and, of course, plenty of babies start crawling before or after this window. In fact, some babies skip the crawling stage altogether and move straight to walking, as noted by Today's Parent. This may cause concern to some caretakers, but as long as your infant has been assessed at well-baby visits on the regular, your kiddo is probably OK. Babies develop at their own pace, and your little one doesn't have to hit every developmental mark at the same time as his peers.
With that said, is there any way to encourage your baby to start crawling? Although your child won't start scooting around before he's ready, there are some things you can do that may help the process along. As explained by Zero to Three, it's smart to make sure your baby has plenty of tummy time, as this will help develop the muscle strength needed to start crawling. What's more, you can use your baby's favorite toys as motivation. According to Parents, sitting on the floor with your baby, and putting his favorite toys just out of reach, may get your baby moving. After all, it's hard to resist the pull of a beloved stuffed toy or book.
In general, your baby will start crawling whenever he's ready. In the meantime, you can use toys and tummy time to entice those first self-powered movements. Be careful, though: once he's mastered crawling, walking is not far away, and before you know it you'll have a little speed demon on your hands.