There is still so much to learn about child development, and researchers are always looking to find out why children act the way they do and how this can help parents. There is no guide on how to be a parent, which means parents have to follow the studies and research done by these experts.
The theory is that the more you know, the better you do, but the information is confusing and can be difficult to decipher. Each parent should do what works for them, and they take information from what is important to them and leave the rest. That’s really all a parent can do.
There’s a theme in child development that parents may have heard, and that’s “crossing the middle line.” It describes different actions a child does and how this can relate to their development and well-being. We are going to look at this phenomenon, and we are going to start by taking a look at the brain.
How does the brain work
As a child’s brain continues to grow and develop, it still functions the same as an adult’s, but in a less mature way.
According to WebMD, the brain is divided into left and right hemispheres. Each side of the brain is responsible for the opposite side of the body. This means that the right hemisphere of the brain controls the left hand. However, both sides are able to receive information from the whole body.
It is often said that the left side of the brain controls the logical line of thought. That he is responsible for speaking, writing, math, analysis, and similar tasks. The right side is said to control the most creative aspects of thought. It could be used for music, art and imagination.
What is “Crossing the Midline?”
It has often been said that to create children who are calm, happy and able to function at their best, they need to “cross the middle lines”, but what does that mean?
According to the HOL family, midline crossing occurs when we cross part of our body to the opposite side. An example of this might be using the right hand to tie the left shoe. This could also be seen if you try to read a book upside down, right to left.
If you look at it from a biological perspective, what’s happening is that the right and left sides of the brain are forced to communicate with the corpus callosum, a thick band of nerve fibers.
It has been found that the more communication there is between these two elements, the easier it is for the brain to process information, perform tasks, manage emotions and regulate activities. This made it easy to understand why this can be so crucial for child development.
Crossing the midline is beneficial for brain, emotional and physical development and the inability to cross the midline may be linked to certain neurological conditions and even poor mental health..
A child who is able to cross the midline will have better levels of concentration, thinking ability, physical movement and behavior.
If they can’t, it means their brains aren’t communicating properly with each other, which can hinder skill development in children.
It’s also useful when it comes to everyday tasks that should be simple. Things like getting dressed are difficult if the brain isn’t communicating with itself. Something as simple as tucking the left leg into the left pant leg can be difficult for a child who is not able to cross the midline.
When the two sides of the brain don’t communicate with each other, it can be difficult to coordinate almost all bodily functions.
When does it develop in children?
Like most things, it’s something that needs to be developed in children. According to Healthline, as soon as your child begins to reach for objects, midline crossing will begin to occur. This could be at around 4 months, but the exact age may be different for each child.
The ability to cross the midline will continue to develop as he gets older and won’t stop until your child is about 9 years old. They work on it continuously until that age where it should be a fully integrated skill.
How can mom know if something is wrong?
Moms are always on the lookout to make sure her children are developing properly. This means that they make sure they reach the milestones on time and crossing the halfway line is part of that.
According to Child Development, there are some things the mother can watch out for if she is concerned that her child is not mastering this essential skill.
Here are possible things your child can do if they are having trouble crossing the midline:
- Changing hands in the middle of a task
- Use only one side of their body for tasks, such as tying their right shoe with their right hand only
- Having poor pencil skills
- Using different feet when kicking a ball, instead of sticking to a dominant one
- They cannot coordinate gross motor patterns, such as jumping and running
- Rotate their trunk to the opposite side as they bend over their body
- Having difficulty following an object as it moves across the midline
Can you improve the midline?
There are ways to improve this skill in children, and there are activities that the mother can do with her child to help her work on this development. These are best done when a child is young, so even if mom hasn’t noticed a problem, she can proactively help with natural development. According to the Child Development Center, mom wants to focus on the following activities:
- Hitting objects together, meeting in the center of the body
- Throwing, catching and hitting balls
- Put stickers on one side of their body and ask them to remove them with the opposite hand
- pop bubbles
- Encourage them to use their opposite hand, such as putting their right shoe on with their left hand
These are all great brain-boosting activities, and they can be done as much as mom wants to ensure her child is practicing this vital skill.
Sources: WebMD, HOL Family, Healthline, Child Development, Child Development Center