1. What is bilateral coordination?
Bilateral coordination – the ability to use both sides of the body simultaneously and in unison – is one of those things we tend to take for granted once we have them. But the truth is bilateral coordination is quite an achievement! Think about it: many everyday activities require not only hand-eye coordination but also for you to do different things with different hands (for instance coloring with the right while holding the paper in place with the left) or use alternating movements (for instance walking.)
2. Why is it so important?
Good bilateral coordination means the brain is able to send the right messages to the right areas and preform as needed.
Bilateral coordination is important for all aspects of daily living, from playing around in the yard and kicking around the football to drawing and writing and using cutlery. It is crucial both for your child’s future and for their functioning right now.
Remember – bilateral coordination takes time to develop. Over time, you can really see your child gradually grow better at it. You shouldn’t be alarmed if your child isn’t following the instructions perfectly. If you’re concerned you can consult with an occupational therapist. In the meantime, what you can do is help your kid practice her or his coordination in a fun way.
3. How can I help my kid practice it?
If you want to help your child with their coordination, you can encourage relevant activities. One category of activities are for fine motor skills coordination. Together you can practice cutting paper, roll play dough balls in your hands and color inside the lines as best you can.
Another important aspect is the ‘larger scale’ physical one: ball games and athletics are not only healthy for the body’s strength, agility and cardio but they can help practice the child’s coordination.
How about going for a ride on the tricycle? It’s fun and exciting as well as good for development like we’ve just learned! The nice thing about the tricycle is that it combines coordination between the different parts of the body with practicing your spatial perception. It’s mind-blowing to think just how complicated it is to do something as seemingly simple as riding a tricycle.
You need your legs to move in the right direction, force and rhythm for the wheels to move; you need them to be coordinated with each other; you need your hands to be coordinated too, so that you keep riding in a straight line and only turn when and where you mean to; and finally, you need to do all of this without thinking about it because your mind needs to focus on the road. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?! If that’s not enough to get you excited, you can find some more inspiration in our Tricycle Toy + Song special!
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