One of the more head-scratching behaviours babies enjoy is trying to squeeze into small spaces. Under tables and chairs or dad’s legs or into that tiny gap between the sofa and the floor. Sometimes the process appears downright painful, but baby will nevertheless repeat it again and again (more on repetitive behaviours soon). The most bizarre situations occur when baby tries to squeeze into a space that is clearly way too small – like under mum’s bottom when it’s planted firmly on the floor! What’s up with that?

 

What it looks like? Baby seeks out small or awkwardly shaped spaces to climb or crawl into.

Mistaken for : Not being clever enough to know if the space is too small; trying to get at something that is in the space.

What baby is learning: It won’t always be the case, but often baby is working on her spatial awareness. In other words, she is using various sized spaces to help her understand the size and shape of her own body. Since she can’t actually see her own body she is using spaces that she can see and explore to give her information. I know I can fit my whole body into that space between the cupboard and the radiator so I’m not bigger than that. What about this space under the fridge? Am I too big for that? Well, there’s only one way to find out!

How to support: Encourage baby in exploring these spaces but be sure to make them safe for her and be clear about which spaces are not safe. If you have the resources, create some baby-friendly spaces that are just a little bigger than her (a tunnel, house or a simple den made by throwing a blanket over a table). If she can’t fit into a space simply narrate what has happened (‘Your body is too big to fit into that space.’) and if you do decide to alter the space to allow her to fit make sure you explain what you’re doing.

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