We often hear how some activities are “right brain” and some are “left brain.” But it’s actually the connection between these two sides of the brain that determines our abilities to do many activities. The stronger his connection between the two halves of his brain, the better your child will be able to process information and perform tasks.1 Developing bilateral skills is the key to success in performing many cognitive tasks, such as reading, and physical tasks, such as jumping, too.2,3
Bilateral skills require coordinated movement and action from both sides of the body. You can help your baby develop these skills by performing cross-the-midline activities event right from birth!
Cross-the-midline activities encourage your baby to reach from one side of the body to the other,4 and by incorporating them into his daily routine, you’ll strengthen his muscles and cognitive skills!
What activities can I do with my baby to improve bilateral skills from 0-3 months old?
- Alternate sides when feeding. Switching sides when you feed your baby will naturally cause him to use muscles from both sides of his body. While this is easier to remember if you are breastfeeding, try to still switch sides even when you move on to the bottle.
- Entice your baby to turn his head from side to side. Use brightly colored rattles and other noise makers to grab his attention. Start on one side of his body and slowly move it across his vision to the other side to encourage him to follow it with his gaze and turn his head.
- Encourage him to grab toys with his opposite hand. Capture his attention with a favorite toy. Hold it to one side and encourage him to reach across his body to grab it with his opposite hand by gently holding the hand that is on the same side.
1 Gellens, S. R. (2013). Building Brains. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press.
2 Jamieson, E. Crossing the Midline Helps Kids Learn. Kids First Children’s Services. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://www.kids-first.com.au/crossing-the-midline-helps-kids-learn/.
3 Vaughan, A. (2011). Midline Crossing. The Reach Effect. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://www.thereacheffect.com/pages/parent_q_a/.
4 Texas Early Learning Council. Little Texans, Big Futures: Your Early Learning Guide for Infants, Toddlers, and Three-Year-Olds. Retrieved January 22, 2014, from http://bit.ly/1LNoCTq