|« Don't be too Social!||Learning to Talk is Harder For Boys »|
It's common for toddlers not to be sure which hand is their dominant hand - they may scribble with their right hand one day and their left hand the next! All babies and toddlers develop at different rates and most use both hands to begin with. At about 18 months, their dominant hand will become evident to you: they'll draw with it, use it for eating and for brushing their teeth. By 4 or 5 years, most children will have one favourite hand that is used for writing etc but as the brain is still developing and their co-ordination is still being established, it may not be always consistent.
What to look out for:
- Which hand do they use to reach for a toy or pencil that's put in their reach in front of them?
- Which hand do they use when eating?
- How do they stir if playing with water and sand? Left handed children tend to stir in an anti-clockwise direction.
- When learning to write a left-handed child may prefer to start writing on the right of the page rather than the left. This is more natural for them.
- When playing physical games, the left-handed child will prefer to stand on their left rather than right leg.
Should left handed children be encouraged to use their right hand? Not at all! A few generations ago this was the case: left handed children were made to use their right hands. However, they must be allowed to use which ever hand is easiest in order for the task to be completed. Being left handed is not a conscious decision. It is dictated by the brain and therefore should not be contradicted.
There are various problems that may arise if a child is left-handed, but all the obstacles can be overcome with a little patience and some left-handed equipment if necessary. Schools and teachers are sympathetic to the extra care needed by left-handed children and can help with learning to write and using scissors.
Just remember to be as patient as possible!