Crossing the Midline and Kids Yoga
Do you ever wonder why small children seem to lack coordination and tend to perform tasks slowly and somewhat clumsily? This is due to the fact that they are in the process of building neural networks – “roads” – in the brain.
You have likely heard of the terms cross-lateral movements or crossing the midline. The midlines are invisible lines dividing the body in half. When a leg or an arm from one half of the body crosses over to the other half of the body this is crossing the midline. This helps the brain communicate in greater depth by connecting both halves of the brain via the network of fibers, called the corpus callosum. This integration of the two sides of the brain determines the speed, flexibility, adaptability and depth of the brain’s thinking. When children are allowed to play freely over the years of childhood, they naturally cross these midlines just by being kids and playing in limitless ways.
Sometimes, however, children will show up to school without having had many of the necessary experiences for this to have occurred with the necessary repetition. When the midlines aren’t fully developed, cross-lateral movements might feel unnatural to a child. Educational researchers, educators, occupational and physical therapists have come up with activities to attempt to make up for lost time, so to speak. By getting children to move in specific ways within deliberate activities it can make midline crossing a regular occurrence to help achieve the repetition necessary to help build these roads in the brain. The handout below says “Think of it as doubling up on the brain’s processing speed and power as it draws on the strengths of both the left and right sides to create ‘whole-brain’ thinking.” Authors of A Moving Child is a Learning Child say that crossing the midline not only streamlines movement, it supersizes those superhighways across the corpus callosum. As such it plays a critical role in preparing children’s brains for formal learning.
Kids’ yoga is one of the many activites that can provide cross-lateral experiences for children. And if done regularly, along with other rhythm and movement activities, it might assist in building the brain for optimal development.
The handout below explains midlines in a new way for me. Prior to this learning I only divided the body in two halves, the left and right. But this author divides the body in two additional directions: the top and bottom and the front and back, thus making it midlines – plural. This opens the doorway to many more physical movements meeting the requirements of cross-lateral movements and is worth exploring further. I always love learning new things!
For some occupational therapy activities for crossing the midline see OT Mom Learning Activities.
Thank you to Free Spirit Publishing and authors of A Moving Child is a Learning Child, Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy, for allowing me to share this handout through Learners’ Edge.
Top 6 Yoga Poses for Toddlers “A few months ago a parent asked how she could best do yoga with her one-year-old daughter…”
Kids Yoga App – Create Your Own Balancing Sequence Effortlessly create a balancing sequence with a few taps of this kids yoga iOS app.
Top 5 Tips to Help Kids Yoga Balance: Kid Twitter Question Answered A kid question answered: “Do you have any tips to help us balance better?”
Getting Kids Ready to Write: Yoga in Schools A teacher question answered: “I was wondering the best combinations [of poses] to use [with my students] for getting ready to write.”
Twitter Leads to Most Rewarding Visit Imaginable Sing Song Yoga founder does yoga with students she connected with on Twitter.
For more info:
This entry was posted on Monday, March 30th, 2015.
Posted in Benefits of Yoga, Education, Parenting, Yoga in Schools.
Tagged: children, cross-lateral activities, cross-lateral moments, crossing the midline, crossing the midlines, early childhood, early childhood activities, kid yoga, kids yoga, kids yoga benefits, midlines development, physical activities for toddlers, sing song yoga, yoga for kids, yoga in schools, yoga in the classroom