What is Bilateral Coordination?

bilateral coordination

Did you know that bilateral coordination is closely related to the vestibular system? When our body registers movement and gravity, our vestibular system allows us to respond with appropriate movement, balance, and posture.

In fact, there are three components:

  • Symmetrical movements
  • Alternating movements
  • Dominant hand/supporting hand movements

The vestibular system, and our body’s ability to register information and integrate it into movements, enables bilateral coordination and body awareness of the upper and lower body. Below is a list of activities that can help build and develop bilateral coordination. Try these activities to work on skills like visual motor integration and fine motor while encouraging bilateral coordination.

Symmetrical Movements

With symmetrical movements, both hands do the same thing at the same time. For example, using both hands to pull up pants or socks. Other activities that can work on this skill include:   

  • Holding a squeeze bottle with both hands at midline to paint
  • Jumping rope and jumping jacks
  • Catching a ball with two hands

Alternating Movement Bilateral Coordination

With alternating movements, both extremities are working, using alternating motions. So, you will see alternating coordination with swimming or climbing a ladder. Activities to work on this skill include:

  • Riding a bike
  • Marching

Dominant Hand/Non Dominant Hand

With dominant hand/non dominant hand, one hand performs a task while the other hand assists. This is needed for many fine motor skills. Therefore, this type of coordination is needed for writing and cutting with scissors. Activities to work on this skill include:

  • Lacing cards
  • Coloring
  • Writing
  • Tying shoes

So, try some of these activities to help your kids improve their bilateral coordination. Also, if you have a baby, check out these tips for crawling and start working on it early!