As moms, we’re constantly looking for the best ways to help our kids succeed in the classroom so when a middle school teacher recently spoke about the benefits of “crossing the midline,” I was pretty intrigued.
First, let’s clarify the midline by picturing an imaginary line from head to toe, dividing the body into two halves. Next, go ahead and cross that line – place your keys on a table to the right of you and grab them with your left hand. There, you just crossed the midline - and as some studies suggest, you may have just optimized your brain function!
Crossing the midline prompts the two brain hemispheres to communicate with each other and enhances bilateral coordination. This is essential for most daily physical tasks as well as cognitive development. Just as a baby learning to crawl, a child first climbing a flight of stairs, and a teen passing his driving test all require the use of both sides of the body at the same time – reading and writing also utilizes both hemispheres of the brain. In a way, the ability to cross the midline is a prerequisite to reading and writing.
Here are some simple and fun exercises to encourage whole brain integration – you’ll certainly energize your child’s brain and may even improve her concentration in the classroom.
1. Draw a figure eight on its side – either using your finger in the air or a crayon on paper. Be sure to make it large and loopy so that you cross the midline. 2. Dance around with streamers - waving the wand from one side of your body to the other. 3. Bring your right knee and left elbow together, then switch sides - slowly alternate.