Developing Bilateral Coordination in Children: Why It Matters and How to Support It

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Childhood is a time of rapid growth and learning, with each new skill acquired marking an important milestone in a child's development. One such crucial skill is bilateral coordination, which refers to the ability to use both sides of the body together in a coordinated way. It is a fundamental skill that plays a crucial role in a child's development. From simple tasks like tying shoelaces to more complex activities like playing sports or writing, bilateral coordination is involved in almost everything we do. In this blog post, we'll explore why bilateral coordination is important for children and how parents and caregivers can support its development.

What is Bilateral Coordination?

Bilateral coordination involves the ability to coordinate both sides of the body in a smooth and controlled manner. This includes actions such as crawling, walking, running, and using both hands together to complete tasks like cutting with scissors or buttoning a shirt. It also involves the ability to cross midline, which is the imaginary line that divides the body into left and right halves. The ability to cross midline is a crucial component for proper bilateral coordination of both arms and legs. 

Why Is Bilateral Coordination Important?

DEVELOPMENT OF MOTOR SKILLS: Bilateral coordination is essential for the development of fine and gross motor skills. Activities that require both hands to work together, such as catching a ball or using scissors, help strengthen these skills.
HANDWRITING: Bilateral coordination plays a significant role in handwriting. The ability to hold the paper steady with one hand while writing with the other.
DAILY LIVING SKILLS: Many daily activities, such as tying shoelaces, buttoning a shirt, or using utensils, require the use of both hands together. Developing good bilateral coordination helps children become more independent in these tasks.
SPORTS AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Bilateral coordination is crucial for success in sports and physical activities. It helps with tasks like kicking a ball, swinging a bat, or jumping rope.

How to Support Bilateral Coordination Development

PLAY GAMES: Encourage your child to play games that involve using both hands, such as building blocks, playing catch, or completing puzzles.
ARTS AND CRAFTS: Activities like drawing, painting, and coloring require good bilateral coordination. Provide opportunities for your child to engage in these activities regularly.
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: Learning to play a musical instrument can help improve bilateral coordination. Instruments like the piano, guitar, or drums require coordination between both hands.
OUTDOOR PLAY: Outdoor activities like climbing, swinging, and playing on monkey bars can help develop bilateral coordination and strengthen muscles.


In conclusion, bilateral coordination is a crucial milestone that impacts various areas of a child's development. By providing opportunities for your child to engage in activities that promote bilateral coordination, you can help them develop this important skill.   If your child struggles with bilateral coordination, consider consulting an occupational therapist. They can provide specific activities and strategies to help improve this skill.