Is Coordination Really That Important?
How coordinated is your child?
Does your child bump and knock over things often?
Is your child well developed in terms of intellectual and language skills yet display delays in their motor abilities?
Does your child face difficulties with physical activities or games that requires frequent changes in his body position such as simon says?
Is your child able to cut with a scissors or handle straddle jumping?
Can you child climb up and down the stairs?
Does your child avoid activities that requires a physical response out of them?
Are these skills really important? Read to find out more!
For a child to complete any of the activities stated in the above questions, it would require a good amount of coordination. A coordinated child is one who can use his or her arms and legs effectively. This would also imply good communication between the two sides of the brain.
Bilateral Coordination : 1 dominant hand to cut, the other hand to support
Poor coordination skills may not seem to have a major impact in a child’s younger years as they have the abilities to cope with the amount of work they have to learn. However, as school advances, individuals with poor coordination skills will find increasing difficulties in coping with the heavy workload. When this begins, their motivation, interest, enthusiasm and self esteem begin to wean off and we begin to notice an array of behavioural problems.
One of the best gifts that we can give our children before kickstarting formal schooling is the gift of coordination. Why? Coordination is the foundation for reading, writing, motor planning, gross and fine motor skills.
One of the foundational skills is the child’s ability to cross their midline. Crossing this midline refers to a person’s ability to move over to the other side of the body to complete a task. This would also mean that both sides of the child’s brains are communicating together. The left and right brain hemispheres communicate across a the centre of the brain called the corpus callosum. It is important for both sides of the brains to communicate together because each side of the brain has the responsibility to carry out different tasks.
Affects A Child’s Writing Ability
If a child does not cross his midline, both of his hands will get equal opportunities in completing an activity. Both the right and the left hand becomes the dominant hand and none plays a supporting role. The child will end up having 2 mediocre hand instead of 1 strong, specialized hands in completing a writing activity.
Affects A Child’s Reading Ability
Not being able to cross a midline would also indicate a child’s difficulty in tracking from left to right with their eyes. They would use their left eyes to complete reading tasks on the left and use their right eyes to complete reading tasks on the right. This would mean that they would constantly skip lines when completing reading tasks. Eventually, when the child finds difficulty in getting meaning from the reading activity, they will begin to avoid the reading activity altogether.
Affects A Child’s Posture
When a child is unable to cross their midline, they would make compensation to help them complete any given task. Some children will turn their paper horizontally towards one side of the body to complete a writing activity. Some others will shift their weight from right to left often to complete their given tasks. Such of these compensatory measures will affect their body posture and important muscles such as the core and shoulders will not get the opportunity to further develop to complete even more challenging tasks.
Strengthening The Midline – What You Can Do?
Introduce music and movement activities that encourages your child to cross their midline. Make it fun and enjoyable yet strengthen the brains at the same time!
Music & Movement: Crossing Midlines
Introduce gross motor activities to strengthen the muscles
The Forward Roll
Keep Creeping! - It is essential that your child spend lots on time in the creeping position!
Babies Perfecting The Creeping Skills
Watch out for this space for more information on perfecting the coordination skills!