When professionals like pediatric occupational therapists talk about “crossing midline” when referring to your child’s development, they are talking about an imaginary line that goes from your child’s head to his feet and separates the right and left halves of his body. It is where your child’s foot or hand can move over to his body’s other side spontaneously to work there.
Midline crossing helps build brain pathways and is essential for children to develop proper cognitive and motor skills. When a child has problems crossing their body’s midline, they usually have difficulties with skills like handwriting, reading, participating in physical and sports activities and completing self-care skills.
Switching hands when coloring, drawing, and writing, rotating their core to the other side when reaching across the body, and not favoring one foot over the other when kicking a ball are indications that your child may be having difficulties crossing their body’s midline.
Ways you Can Help Your Children with Midline Crossing
The activities below are only some ways that you can help your child cross their midline and develop their bilateral abilities. You can have your child implement these activities into their daily routines in classroom activities or at home. These include:
- Cutting, folding paper, pasting and threading beads.
- Putting finger puppets on one of their hands and encourage them to use the opposite hand to remove the puppets.
- Banging percussion instruments or blocks together in their midline
- Playing games like Simon Says.
- Playing games like Twister.
- Writing or drawing on a surface that is horizontal such as a mirror, chalkboard or whiteboard.
To really help your child get into these exercises, keep it fun and creative. If you notice they are still having difficulties with midline crossing, speak with their pediatric occupational therapist. They can help you come up with additional exercises and activities that can help.