As parents, we are constantly amazed by how fast our baby grows and the new skills they seem to develop almost daily. As an Instructor, I have relished learning more and more about just how babies develop and how to incorporate these new skills into a part of our lives. In every Buddha Buddies Baby Yoga class I teach we include activities that practice ‘midline-crossing’. For me, they are an essential element of baby and toddler development, easy to do and repetitive (for embedding) and fun.
Why is it so important to add midline-crossing activities into part of your baby’s day?
Well, we all know that the left and right hemispheres of the brain control different things. (You can also look at our previous blog on how the brain is structured.) However, what is also key here is how the two sides are able to communicate. There is a bridge between the two sides called the corpus callosum. This allows both sides to essentially talk to each other. As each side carries out different tasks they need to be able to work together in order to coordinate learning and movement.
For babies, this communication is the foundation for later work on the development of such things as the dominance of hand and bilateral movement (both sides working together – i.e pushing and pulling).
So how can we add in activities early on in our baby’s development?
That is where our Baby Yoga comes in, specific moves are practised to enable the crossing of one limb over the middle of the body. Of course, we always make it fun and we never force any movement!
So to keep you going here are a few activities for you to try at home – or you can always pop along to a class or watch one of the various Videos including Action Songs that work on crossing the midline FREE on the Youtube channel.
- Half lotus – with your baby on the floor in front of you start by taking hold of the right lower leg, now take this leg and move it across the body to the right thigh. Repeat each side several times. In class we also sing ‘pat-a-cake’ while we do this, adding other elements of singing and language into the mix!
- Give me a hug – in the same position as before, this time take the arms out to the side and then cross over in the middle of the body, give them a little hug with their arms as you go. Repeat, this time ensuring that the arms move position, whichever one was on top is now underneath.
- Hand to knee – with your babysat on your lap take the right hand and move towards the left knee. Repeat each side several times.
As you can see, they are all easy moves to incorporate as part of any routine. You do not need any special equipment and if you can, always make good eye contact, so you work on your non-verbal communication and bonding at the same time.
If you would like to know more about the activities or baby development, then do pop along to a class. You can also check out the YouTube channel, which has some great videos to watch on all things baby.
I have put together a little list of some great baby (under 1-year toys) that can help with mid-line crossing activities at home.
- Sorting cube – I love the wooden ones.
- Material books – a great one for naturally crossing over.
- Soft building block – perfect for problem-solving
- Stacker – a great one to build hand to eye coordination too.
Have a look at some of these developmental toys, you will notice that not only are perfect for adding in some midline-crossing but they also address other skills such as; problem-solving, hand to eye coordination and fine and gross motor skills.
Rachel is a mother of twin girls. She is a graduate with a combined honours degree in ‘English & Psychology. She is also a Complimentary Health Specialist, running a Wellbeing Centre and also is founder of Buddha Buddies – baby classes based around child psychology.
You can read her book on Mindful Parenting on Amazon. Sign up to receive more top tips to help you on your parenting journey.
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