We have both been there when baby wakes up in the middle of the night to practice his new skill of crawling in the crib. You try to turn down the monitor, but they are so excited that you can still hear them through the door dow the hallway. Here are a few tips to give baby a "leg up" on learning to crawl.
1. Make sure you practice the skill during awake time. Just like any other physical milestone, you want to give baby a lot of practice time and physical stimulation during their awake times while they are learning the new skill. You can help move their legs back and forth across the room so they can understand the back and forth motion. Place your palms on the soles of their feet as they move. You can place toys across the room for them to crawl to, or you can crawl in front of them while they meet you on the other side of the room.
2. Make sure that you have the appropriate number of naps for this age. Most babies are learning to crawl around the same time that they are transitioning to 2 naps a day. Around 8/9 months of age, pay attention to see if your baby is lengthening the time he/she is awake between naps. Once your baby is waking up too late in the evening from the 3rd nap, it's time to switch!
3. Most babies are also learning to sit up at this age. One fun exercise that we used when my daughter was learning to sit, was to sit behind baby with your hand on their hips and then let go slightly and see if they can catch themselves with their hand on the ground. This will help develop their reflex skills and give them more confidence when they are sitting unassisted in their crib.