A lot of these things I had never heard of until I had a daughter that needed me to learn them. Crossing midline is one of those things. The midline is the imaginary line between the left and right side of our bodies. Crossing midline means a child is able to use their hands a feet to cross over that imaginary line. It is important for children to cross their midline because it requires both sides of their brains to communicate with each other.
When children have a hard time crossing their midline that means both sides of their brains have a hard time communicating with each other, which can bring challenges in school, sports, and general life. When both sides of the brain are communicating well, they are able to integrate information better, have better coordination, and develop life skills. Can you imagine trying to put on your socks if you could not cross midline?!
Signs of Trouble Crossing Midline
One thing that was pointed out to us by a therapist was that Ruby tries to use only one eye when looking at things like movies, or people she is seeing for the first time. Turning her head and favoring one eye is an attempt to use one side of her brain to gather the information rather than using both eyes.
Children that have a hard time crossing midline will not give high fives crossing the body, have a hard time catching balls, a difficult time coordinating eating utensils, a hard time with reading, writing, drawing, and cutting, and the list goes on.
How Can I Help
Just like everything, getting both sides of the brain to talk to each other takes practice. The trick is to find something that your child likes to do so they will be motivated to try crossing midline. Here are some ideas.
- Popping bubbles with on hand. For Ruby bubbles are highly motivating and she loves to pop them. If she is only using one hand she will have to cross the midline to get them all!
- Rapping. This may sound strange, but we do a lot of rapping at our house, a little beat boxing. I just make up random stuff about what we are doing, which Ruby loves the music, then at the end I say “ya boy!” and put both of my arms out and then cross them. Ruby does this too now, and bonus she is moving both hand at the same time and they are both crossing midline!
- Scooping and pouring. Ruby loves sensory things and scooping sand, water, beans, anything into another container is a favorite. Just put the sand on one side of the body and the bucket on the other and she naturally crosses midline while doing something interesting.
- Super hero moves. Ruby loves playing PJ masks. We dress us in capes and masks and try to save the day (or in my case take over the world as I am usually Romeo). She does more mimicking when we are doing something she likes so I add in a few karate moves as I hatch my diabolical plan and before I know if Ruby is doing the same moves and, yes, crossing midline!
There are a lot of ideas out there on crossing midline. The problem I run into is that Ruby is not going to cross midline to touch her toes because I told her too. She will, however, cross midline to do something she likes, and she will do it without even knowing it.
There are a million things that I need to be working on with Ruby that can seem overwhelming, but this is not something should be forgotten because when there is better communication in the brain, there are better outcomes.