Have you ever heard the term “crossing the midline?” Don’t worry you’re not alone, and it’s completely normal not have before this blog!
Even as an ECE teacher I did not know much about crossing the midline until I dove deeper into milestones and pre-skills to help children with fine motor, or hand eye coordination. So what exactly what is crossing the midline and why is it important to our little ones? Crossing the midline happens when your child moves their hand or foot across the “middle line” to work on the opposite side of their body. Before crossing the midline happens, a child will typically use only one side of their body at a time. I always think of an imaginary line that is drawn down the middle of your child.
Now think about the pre-skills that you work on with your infant to walk. How does a baby cross their midline when rolling over from back to belly? Crossing the midline is a foundational skill that leads to more complex and necessary skills in children. When children can, they are using both sides of their brain to coordinate smooth, controlled, complex movements. It is important to combine movement patterns that cross the body for daily tasks such as reading, writing, and then also tying shoelaces pulling up their pants etc. When children start crossing the midline regularly it helps them train their brain to work together since both the right and left hemisphere are being engaged.
One key way to see if your child can cross the midline is have them draw a line from one side of the paper to the other. Do they switch hands midway through drawing the line or, do they continue to draw the line with their dominate hand the whole way through? Do they always use their left hand for left sided tasks and right hand for right hand tasks?
Do not worry if your little one is not crossing the midline as soon as you get done reading this blog, there are lots of fun activities and games to play to help your little build up their midline progression.
Here are 5 fun but simple games/activities you can play to help your little one with midline crossing:
1) Color matching bean bag toss. Make a pile of one color of bean bags on the left and one-color pile on the right. Then get matching buckets but put the left color bucket across the child on the right and vis versus for the left. Tell your child they can only use their left hand to throw the pile to the color bucket for the left pile and Right for the right pile. This will have them cross their body from left to right.
2) Yoga- Most yoga poses have your body stretch from left to right helping your child master balance and crossing the body.
3) Using the infinity loop is another great way to encourage children to cross their midline. They can trace or draw it on their own. Make sure the student is standing directly in front of the blackboard/dry erase board or sitting directly in front of the piece of paper.
4) Water painting with adult paintbrushes or rollers. Let your kiddo “paint” the side of the house using adult rollers this is a fun way to get them to cross the midline.
5) Wash the car, windows, or counters using only their dominate hand and reaching across to get the wholes surface area.
If you have more questions about midlines, stop by my classroom! This is a very cool kid-ism that you may not have thought about before!
Lead Preschool Teacher
Social Emotional Coordinator