Crossing midline simply means crossing over the imaginary line down the middle of the body; this could mean arms, legs or eyes crossing that imaginary line.
Why is being able to cross midline important?
This is an extremely important skill for children to learn at an early age because it improves the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain and allows for smooth, coordinated motor movements between the right and left sides of the body.
How would I know if my child has difficulty crossing midline?
- Switching hands during a writing/cutting activity (especially when crossing over the middle of the body)
- Rotating the trunk instead of reaching across the body to grab an object
- Difficulty with self-care tasks (such as fastening buttons or zippers in the middle of the body, putting on shoes and socks)
- Uncoordinated or difficulty with jumping jacks or skipping etc.
What activities can help improve my child's ability to cross midline?
- Drawing figure 8's on a vertical surface (without switching hands in the middle)
- Washing a car or windows using large movements to cross the body
- Jumping jacks
- Clapping games
- Playing tug-of-war
If your child is having obvious difficulty crossing midline, an occupational therapist can help assess the difficulty and challenges it may be posing to your child's independence and create a program/facilitate exercises to improve a child's ability to cross midline and engage in their daily occupations!