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  • Little Investigators

Lefty or Righty?

Is Your Child Right or Left-Handed?

1. She Chooses her Left Hand to be the Dominant Hand

Encourage hand development in your little one by occupying her with various hand specific activities such as play dough, crayon painting, playing with balls, etc. Just keep these objects in front and observe her natural hand preference. Even though she is three, but still uses her left hand, don’t try to change her.

2. Using Scissors

As the world turns, babies become toddlers, and toddlers become preschoolers learning to use those kid-safe scissors. According to Wilmot, hand dominance matters most for children in preschool and kindergarten, who scribble, write, and draw all day. Having a preferred, stronger hand helps them to be more "efficient and automatic" as they learn crucial new skills.

3. Holding a spoon

Left-handed children will eventually begin holding or stabilizing their cereal bowl or paper with their non-dominant (right) hand, while manipulating the spoon or crayon with their more dexterous left. If you notice your young baby favoring one hand at mealtime, don't do anything to reinforce it. Instead, just let it happen naturally as your child's coordination improves.

4. You’re Left-Handed too

Hand dominance in children has a lot to do with genetics. If you or your hubby are left-handed, chances are pretty high that your kiddo will be a lefty too. Did you know that the brain of lefties has ‘mixed dominance’? This enables them to perform different activities using both their hands. In fact, left-handers have enhanced visual skills too. So, if there’s anyone in your immediate family who is a lefty, look out for signs of “mixed” handedness in your child too.

Famous left handers: President Obama, Bill Gates, Oprah

5. Hand-Swapping

Have you ever noticed your little one changing her hands often? Children might start an activity with one hand and then swap after some time. If this is the case with your preschooler, try to find which hand she usually starts with. You must help your child build up the endurance in her preferred hands by developing her fine motor skills effectively.

6. Midline Crossing Activities

Many times, your little one would tend to pick what is placed to her left with her left hand and use her right hand to pick what’s placed to her right. If this is the case with your child, try placing objects like crayons, spoons, etc. near her belly button(midline). If she is repeatedly using her left hand to pick them up, then she is mostly likely to be a lefty.

When Does a Child Become Hand Dominant?

Some children discover their dominant hand incredibly early. Infants develop unilateral manipulation skills—the ability to use one hand—at 7 to 9 months of age, but it is not until 10 to 11 months that they develop a true consistent hand preference.

Most of the time, hand dominance in children begin to stabilize around 18 months to 2 years of age. For some kids, it may not be until they reach the ages of 4 or 6.

When children begin learning to write in school, their teacher may note that they have not yet chosen a dominant hand. Some never do and will be ambidextrous or mixed handed.

While it’s okay for parents to be observant of their kid’s use of hands, it’s not right to influence their hand preference. By doing so, they would only confuse their kids further.

Fun Fact: In about 20 percent of identical twins, one will be left-handed and the other right-handed.


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