Crossing the midline is when we move our arm or leg across the middle of our body to perform a task. Before midline crossing is well established, children are usually observed to engage in tasks on only one side of their body, e.g.: reaching for an item placed on their left side with only their left hand.

Crossing the midline is vital to the development of using both sides of the body together, such as putting on shoes and socks, writing and cutting. It promotes the coordination and communication of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It also encourages bilateral coordination, the process of developing a dominant hand and development of fine-motor skills.

Necessary skills for midline crossing:

  • Sufficient control and use of both sides of the body.
  • Sufficient body awareness.
  • Sufficient trunk control.

Observable difficulties in midline crossing:

  • Switching hands during an activity e.g.: writing, cutting.
  • Rotating the trunk instead of reaching across body for objects on the opposite side.
  • Difficulty performing age-appropriate self-care tasks independently.

Activities to promote crossing the body’s midline:

  • Bang objects together in the midline e.g.: hitting a tambourine.
  • Throw, catch, and kick balls.
  • Put stickers on one side of the body and have your child remove them with their opposite hand.
  • Pop bubbles.
  • Draw large figure-eights with a pencil or their hand or feet on paper, sand or in the air.
  • Engage your child in activities of daily living by placing items on the other side of body such as reaching for the left shoe placed to right side of the body.