In baby yoga every class includes 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. What is it though and how does it benefit your baby?
What is Mid-Line Crossing?
You may not heard of the term ‘mid-line crossing’. Picture an imaginary line down the centre of your body, this is your mid-line. If you take an arm or leg across your body then you are effectively ‘crossing the mid-line’. So a really simple was to cross the line is to take your right hand to your left shoulder. Or you can make it more complex and take it to your left knee. You can make these movements very simply with your baby and children.
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 this topic.) 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. There is more information of the difference between the left and right sides of the brain in our next blog all about Your Baby’s Brain
For babies this communication is the foundation for later work on development of such things as 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 practiced to enable 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!
- 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 baby sat 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.
Happy midline crossing!
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