What is crossing the midline and why does my occupational therapist want us to work on it? 

Crossing midline is the ability to reach across the middle of your body with your arm or foot. For example, a child that has not yet mastered the skill of crossing midline will often only engage with items on one side of their body (e.g. grabbing a toy on their left side only using their left hand). 

Crossing midline is what allows you to reach across your body. This skill is foundational to daily tasks such as buckling your seat belt, reading, writing, and even tying your shoes. In fact, most people cross midline without even knowing it because they do it so often. This is a skill that begins developing around 4 months of age and continues to develop until 8 or 9 years of age.  Crossing midline also plays a large role in developing hand dominance as well as upper body coordination. 

So how do I know if my child is crossing midline or not?

It can be difficult to tell if your child is developing normally. Here are some red flags to look for: 

  • Switching hands frequently during writing and drawing
  • Rotation of the trunk instead of reaching across their body to grab a toy 
  • Difficulty with completing age appropriate self-care activities
  • Difficulty with reading or writing
  • Difficulty with tying their shoes

If my child is having a difficult time, what can I do? 

Here are some crossing the midline activities to try at home:

  • Racing a car along a race track that is shaped in a horizontal 8 figuration
  • Cross crawls (placing opposite hand to opposite foot)
  • Placing stickers on an arm and having the other hand take them off. 
  • Tracing horizontal figure 8
  • Painting with a large roller
  • Wiping off the table using one hand to complete the task
  • Playing patty cake

More questions about your child’s gross motor development? Reach out to us to get your questions answered!