The development of a child can be one of the most fascinating things to watch unfold. From infants mirroring movements to toddlers and children mastering high level developmental skills, the growth they experience in a short time is astounding. And while all skills are important for children to master, bilateral coordination is an important prerequisite for development of a variety of motor and cognitive skills.
Bilateral coordination is the ability to synchronize both sides of the body in a controlled manner. An important aspect of this is “crossing the midline.” This is a spontaneous movement and involves being able to cross an imaginary line that runs down the center of the body. It is key in doing simple things such as crossing your ankles and scratching your elbow.
Bilateral coordination is mostly developed through the corpus callosum, which is largely responsible for communicating messages from one hemisphere of the brain to the other. In the early months and years of life, babies and toddlers typically use both hands equally to pick up objects, depending on which is closer. Then around the age of 3 or 4, children have typically established a dominant hand and the skill of “crossing the midline” has been solidified.
A key component to the development of bilateral coordination is body awareness. This involves proprioception and refers to the ability to know where your body is in the environment without using your vision. The vestibular system also comes into play with the development of this since it is a factor of sensory integration. If these areas are underdeveloped, children may present with various difficulties.
When bilateral coordination is underdeveloped, children may appear ambidextrous. This is often because they have a processing issue in the brain. The two hemispheres of the brain are not communicating effectively resulting in clumsiness and struggles with daily living tasks involving both fine and gross motor skills. The ability to cross the midline is also necessary for visual tracking so reading and writing from one side of a paper to the other can be difficult as well as achieving other higher-level skills.
When our program was created, an extensive amount of research was put into the science of the brain and child development. To the untrained eye or unknowing parent, watching class may appear to just be another activity. However, the science of how and why drills are taught to specific groups is how our program takes training and child development to a whole new level. Activities involving jumping, obstacle courses, animal walks, and other drills that challenge using both sides of the body in opposing ways helps supercharge the development of bilateral coordination. And what’s even better, this training can potentially lead to improvements in many higher-level cross-body tasks such as reading and writing.
Engaging children in activities that constantly spark conversation between the left and right hemispheres improves brain communication. Training methods involving bilateral coordination has a huge impact on this, therefore improving motor coordination as well as cognitive skills. The more parents learn and understand the science behind this, the more active they can be in nurturing their child to their full potential.
Thank you ahead of time, for not giving up on your future Black Belt Leaders. I know that they’ll really appreciate it later in life.
To learn more about the powerful Life Skill program that uses martial arts as the vehicle for growth, or to get your child started at our Millbury location, click the button below:
Life Skill Martial Arts
322 Millbury Avenue
Millbury, MA 01527
Author: Stan Tabor
Stan Tabor is a 6th-degree black belt and has been training in martial arts since 1972. He is the founder of the Life Skill curriculum and association. His goal is to build a future for the next generation of the Life Skill Instructors to use martial arts as a vehicle to teach life skills that develop children physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.
Welcome to Life Skill Martial Arts! Conveniently located in Millbury Massachusetts, Life Skill Martial Arts provides high quality martial arts training classes to the residents of Millbury , Worcester , Grafton , Shrewsbury, Auburn and the surrounding areas, including Sutton , Uxbridge , and Northbridge. We have a few simple goals here. However, we put 110% of our effort into achieving them. Life Skill Martial Arts Millbury helps children to build these good habits that extend to success at home and school everyday. In short, these goals have but one purpose: Provide classes that are results-driven, while at the same time fun!
Life Skill Martial Arts is NOT just another Karate School! We teach Personal Development to children using martial arts as a vehicle. Our goal is to instill the habits and skills of: Discipline – Belief – Communication – Respect – Self Esteem – Honesty.