As we go from an educational culture focused on child development to one focused mainly on academic achievement, brain development activities are actually being missed. Although I can understand the idea of focusing on academics to try and catch up with the many countries that are ahead of the United States in education, we are missing the boat if we think bypassing brain development is the answer.
Research shows midline crossing is tied to higher learning skills such as speech, language, handwriting, reading, tracking objects, math sequencing, sensory integration, body awareness and other important skills for critical thinking. It’s also important for helping children retain information, improve attention and focus and allows them to listen to the teacher as they give directions.
Here are some ways to know if your child is having trouble crossing midline:
• Uses right hand activities on the right side of the body and uses left leg activities on the left leg of the body.
• Has trouble with tracking words from right to left
• Poor fine motor skills (pencil grip, handwriting)
• Has trouble switching different feet and arms in sports.
• Had developmental delays as a child (crawling, jumping, skipping)
• Poor muscle tone (neck, arms legs) and balance and coordination
• Switches hands when drawing, painting, coloring
Here are some exercises beneficial for working on the crossing midline (these are good for a variety of ages - even the older kids can do these if you add the twist of competition - maybe not the first one but most of the others LOL):
1. Playing cars on a large path – draw a line on a large piece of paper or make a large path on the floor with blocks for your child to drive their toy cars. Put lots of turns in the path. Encourage your child to just use one hand to drive the car.
2. Use large (adult size) paint brushes and/or rollers and let your child paint the sides of the house with water. Encourage using one hand at a time.
3. Play flashlight tag
4. Wash the car – Encourage your child to use his/her dominant hand and reach in all directions. Wash the windows.
5. Practice windmills or cross crawls (hand to opposite foot or hand to opposite knee).
6. 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).
7. Practice step and throwing with a water balloon!
8. Draw a large figure eight (the number eight facing side to side, not top to bottom) with sidewalk chalk for your child and have them walk the figure eight OR draw the infinity sign and have your child trace it with their finger of their dominant hand.
9. Set up squirt gun target practice. Use both hands on the squirt gun to try and knock over cups, wash away chalk etc.
10. Water flowers with the garden hose using two hands.
For more info go to: www.growinghandsonkids.com/crossing-midline-exercises-for-kids.html