Why is crossing midline so important?

What is the midline? 

Our bodies have an imaginary line down the center that divides the body into left and right. 

What does it mean to cross midline? 

Crossing midline is the ability to reach across the middle of the body with our  arms and legs to perform a task. 

How soon does crossing midline develop?

Amazingly, babies as young as 3 months old, begin to cross midline with their eyes. They can visually track objects that are moved in front of them in an arc shape. Before crossing midline is fully established, children will typically do tasks on only one side of their body. For example, it a toy is on the left side of their body, they will use their left hand to grab it. At 6 months, babies begin reaching across their body with one hand. At 8 months, they cross the midline with both hands. This is seen when they  transfers objects from one hand to the other. By age 4, the children should be able to easily cross midline. This ability to cross midline is a critical part of child development. 

What is the effect of not crossing midline or having a dominant hand? 

When children are not able to easily cross midline, learning to write becomes a struggle. This happens because they now have two less skilled hands rather than one stronger, dominant hand. Difficulty crossing the midline can also impact reading, writing and language! When children have difficulty visually tracking moving objects from one side to the other it then delays their ability to read.  Being able to track left to right is a critical skill when reading. *Research has shown that children with ADHD are more likely to be cross or mixed dominant. This can cause problems with coordination, reading, math and attention.

What is the impact of mixed dominance?  

Kids  who are mixed dominant often do not have the coordination skills to cross midline smoothly. Reading, writing, completing worksheets and even navigating the playground for recess requires crossing the midline. 

Many children who have ADHD prefer sports like soccer, track and field and football.  The reason why; these sports do not require them to cross midline. Encouraging all kids to play a sport that crosses the midline is ideal! This additional midline crossing practice will benefit them on the field and in the classroom!

What are some activities that work on crossing midline?