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The Importance of “Crossing Midline”

By the age of 3 or 4, a child should engage in the bilateral skill of “crossing the midline”. This could be scratching your elbow, crossing your ankles, or reading from left to right. Crossing the midline helps a child build pathways in their brain and it is an important skills that is required for the development of various motor and cognitive skills. When your child establishes a “worker hand” and a “helper hand”, this allows the brain to mature and helps the body cross midline. Both sides of the brain need to talk to each other for the “worker hand” and “helper hand” to work together.

Children who have difficultly crossing midline often struggle with skills such as reading, writing, completing self-care skills, and participating in sports and physical activities. There are a variety of two-handed activities to train your child’s brain into crossing midline:

  • Pop bubbles with only 1 hand so they have to reach across their body to pop the bubbles

  • Draw a large figure 8 pattern for the child to trace

  • Let your child play with rocks, sand, or dirt and have them scoop those objects from one side of their body to the other

  • Have them touch their opposite elbow to their opposite knee

  • Jumping jacks

  • Coloring or writing and have the “helper hand” hold the paper down while the “worker hand” holds the writing utensil

  • Catch a ball with 2 hands

References: North Shore Pediatric Therapy. (2017, September 21). Help Your Child Develop the "Crossing the Midline" Skill. Retrieved from

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