April 16, 2020

The importance of crossing the midline in child development


What is crossing the midline? If you were to draw a line down the middle of your body, starting at the head, that is your midline. Every time you cross that line with either side of your body, that is crossing midline. Crossing the midline is a skill that children can learn from infancy. 

It simply means the ability for you or your child to be able to cross over the midline of the body in order to perform a task. Being able to use both sides of the body together in coordinated movement, decide hand dominance, planning and sequencing, body awareness, and core stability all need the ability to cross the midline. Here are a few crossing the midline exercises you can do together.

  1. DRAW A RAINBOW. Use a large piece of paper for this. Have your child use their dominant hand to draw a rainbow, starting at the opposite side of their body and then ending on their dominant hand side. If your child is left-handed, you would have them start at the right side of their body and draw across to the left. For right-handers, they would start on the left and go right. The trick with this activity is to not let them rotate their trunk or turn their body to the side to reach across. Many children who struggle with crossing the midline do this in order to not truly cross the middle of their body. Draw a starting and ending point to give visuals or to make it easier for younger children. 
  2. WIPING THE TABLE WITH ONE HAND. Put a light coat of shaving cream all over the table and have your child wipe it off with a wet cloth.
  3. WATER THE GARDEN. Water the garden or flower pots using both hands on the water hose.
  4. WINDMILLS AND CROSS CRAWL EXERCISES. For the windmills, have your child reach out to the side with their arms straight. They pretend they are windmills by moving their arms in a circle while crossing across the middle of their body. For cross crawls, have your child march in place, then touch their opposite knee. The right arm would touch the left knee and the left arm would touch the right knee as they are marching in place. This is a great crossing the midline exercise. 
  5. PAINTING WITH PAINTBRUSHES. Use large paint brushes and/or rollers and let your child paint the sides of the house with water. Encourage using one hand at a time.

All these crossing the midline exercises and activities is a great way to spend some quality time with your little one. Just enjoy them. Time flies.

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