What does it mean to "cross midline"?
The body has a midline that falls directly in the center of the body and divides the right and left side of the body. Crossing midline is the ability to spontaneously reach across the body with both arms and legs to perform a task on the other side of the body.
Why is crossing midline important?
Crossing midline is a crucial component for completion of functional, every day tasks that require use of both hands. Crossing midline is important to carry out scissor skill tasks, tying shoes, reading, writing, donning and doffing clothes, brushing teeth, catching or kicking a ball. Any type of task that requires use of both sides of the body and reaching across the midline of the body.
Signs a child may be having trouble crossing midline?
Swaps items from one hand to the other at the midline point, instead of reaching across
Appear "ambidextrous" and use both hands equally as often during daily tasks
Difficulty with coordination based activities
Have a hard time distinguishing the right vs left side of body
Rotates their body to pick up an object instead of reaching across their body
Unable to draw an "X" or "+" shapes
Often loses place when writing or reading
Activities to practice crossing midline:
As soon as your baby begins to start reaching out for toys, encourage your child to reach across their body for objects in different positions.
Baby Cross Crawlers:
Popping bubbles with tennis racket or hands
Playing with sand and other textures
Fishing with rod held in one hand
Spray bottle activities
Drawing figure 8's with a race car on a track
Play "keep it up" with balloon
Painting/ Sensory Play on a vertical surface
Other Crossing Midline Activities:
High 5's or Miss Mary Mack
Kick/throw a ball to a target
Pull stickers/ clothespins off with one hand on the opposite side of body
Pull squigs off mirror by reaching across body using one arm
Have a dance party with scarves
Touch hand to opposite knee/foot then switch
von Kaenel, N. (2021, February 1). What is crossing midline and why does it matter? Retrieved May 11, 2022, from https://www.bearfootoccupationaltherapy.com/post/what-is-crossing-midline-and-why-does-it-matter
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