Your child is left-handed: Here’s how to help

September 06, 2018
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    By now, you’ll almost certainly know whether your child aged three or four years old is left-handed or right-handed. Only a few children remain ambidextrous (able to use both hands competently) throughout their life.

    If your child is a “leftie”, accept that there is nothing you can do about it at this stage in his development, says child psychologist, Dr Richard Woolfson. 

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  • 2 / 8

    Up to the age of 12 or 15 months, you might have gently encouraged him to use his right hand instead of his left if you felt very strongly about this issue. 

    Yet there should definitely be no attempts to discourage his left-handedness after that. 

    So forget about forcing him to use his right hand now that his left is dominant. This would only reduce his self-confidence and cause confrontation between you and him.

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    Some professionals claim that compelling a natural left-hander to become a right-hander could actually result in reading difficulties and possibly stammering because hand preference is controlled by the same part of the brain that is responsible for speech, writing and reading.

    There is no need for you to worry about your child’s left-handedness anyway.

     Although most people use their right hand for manual tasks (for instance, opening doors, cutting with a knife, holding a pair of scissors, lifting a cup, and so on), left-handedness is not a disadvantage in any way. 

    Here are some suggestions for you to help your left-handed child develop without difficulties. 

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  • 1. It's all about perspective
    4 / 8 1. It's all about perspective

    Keep the issue of left-handedness in proper perspective. 

    True, it can make life a little difficult for your child, especially when he’s trying to learn new manual skills, such as cutting, writing or when he learns new sports such as racquet games. 

    But left-handedness is not a handicap or a disability. Your child aged three or four years will adapt.

    Related: 8 ways to improve your child’s concentration

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  • 2. Positivity
    5 / 8 2. Positivity

    Take a positive view of his preference for using his left hand. 

    Look on it as another one of his distinctive characteristics that makes him such a unique child. 

    And it also gives you an opportunity to learn about the world from the point of view of a left-handed child. (If you have had bad school experiences of being left-handed yourself, put these negative images out of your mind completely).

    Related: 4 ways to boost your child’s confidence

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  • 3. Don’t worry about writing
    6 / 8 3. Don’t worry about writing

    When he is a bit older, your child will learn to write. 

    Of course, the challenge is different for a left-handed child than it is for one who is right-handed because he has to push the pencil across the paper instead of pulling it; the pencil should not be too sharp as it could dig into the paper. 

    However, his teacher will advise him on all the best ways to achieve that new skill and he will learn to write.

    Related: Is your kid ready to write?

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  • 4. Adapt to her
    7 / 8 4. Adapt to her

    Make life easier for your left-handed child. 

    For instance, lay items to his left side so that he doesn’t need to have a cross-over reach all the time – this applies to giving him toys and books, and also to laying out his cutlery at mealtimes. 

    You can also buy him left-handed scissors which are designed to fit neatly into the left hand instead of the right; this will help him acquire cutting skills more easily.

    Related: What is EQ: Other strengths to nurture in your child

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  • 5. Praise achievements
    8 / 8 5. Praise achievements

    Shower your four-year-old with praise when he completes that difficult jigsaw, builds a higher tower with her wooden blocks, or draws on paper using her crayons. 

    Avoid mentioning that he is left-handed (or he’ll start to think he has a problem) and praise any achievements using manual skill. 

    This reduces any potential anxieties he might have about being left-handed.

    Related: 10 ways to praise your kid


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