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Understanding how movement and neurological systems impact self-esteem, our organs, behavior, and relationships helps us realize the importance of daily exercise. In addition to helping keep the human body physically healthy, motor is one of the earliest forms of regulation, from the moment an infant begins to make gestures to its parents. Movement offers a tremendous opportunity for connection, relationship, and joy.

By definition, the motor system is the set of central and peripheral structures in the nervous system that support motor functions, i.e., movement. Peripheral structures may include skeletal muscles and neural connections with muscle tissues.

Motor and reflex integration is foundational for learning, regulating emotions, and managing life’s challenges. Anxiety can occur if motor skills are under or poorly developed. Taking a proactive approach to strengthening motor skills when children are young can deter emotional disorders later in life that stem from low self-esteem or lack of confidence in their physical abilities.

More specifically, when a child (or adult) has better coordination, they become more adaptable and better equipped to react to what life throws their way, curveballs included.


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  • Activities that require processing and integration of both hemispheres of the brain to enable both hands to work together at the same time require bilateral and hand-eye coordination.


  • “Crossing the midline” is an essential skill related to bilateral coordination. Crossing the midline enables spontaneously travel over the midline of the body during motor skill work and functional tasks (i.e., moving one hand, foot, or eye into the space of the other hand, foot, or eye, reading left to right, etc.).


  • Focus on strong bilateral coordination helps prevent children from appearing clumsy, dropping items, using primarily one hand in activities, or switching hands during tasks that require a dominant hand and a helper hand.

Kids gain coordination and confidence through movement. At Zier Institute, we work on motor skills using sensory gym equipment to strengthen the kid’s physical abilities and teach them that exercise grounds us into our bodies. We can release negative emotions through movement while also learning to use breathing to regulate emotions.

Bike riding, walking in (socially-distanced) groups and yard games with family and friends are all positive enhancements to a child’s development. Even activities as simple as target practice, tossing a ball toward a target or through a ring, helps coordination and confidence. Each of these activities promotes connection and relationship with others. Both of which lead to higher self-esteem and confidence when trying new things and venturing forward in life.

Movement, strength, and improved coordination opens so many more possibilities to your child and family. They can continue to work toward skill acquisition and get involved in more activities as they grow. Your Zier Institute occupational therapist is ready to help incorporate more movement into your treatment plan and home activities.