you feel like you are raising your left-handed child in a right-handed world?
You might be concerned about how to help them when they learn to write, use
cutlery, play an instrument or practice a new sport. Are you supposed to model
some of these activities to them by switching to your left hand if you happen
to be right-handed? Or should you let them figure it out as they go along?
most important thing to remember is that left-handed children develop in
exactly the same way as their right-handed peers. The dominance of one hand (or
side) over another is determined by the brain and won’t be influenced by the
way a child plays or by watching another person, like their parent, demonstrate
certain tasks with a particular hand. Children who show a dominance for one
side, but are then forced to perform tasks with the other hand, will still
eventually master these tasks. However, it could take them a bit longer to do
so and they their work might not be as neat and accurate as tasks completed
with the naturally dominant side.
foot, eye and ear dominance is determined by the development of the brain’s
hemisphere specialisation. During a little one’s prenatal development, nerves
cross from the one side of the brain to connect to muscles on the opposite side
of the body. Therefore, a left-handed person simply has a better developed
nerve network in the right side of their brain.
dominance is only determined by the age of five and it is quite normal for
children younger than this switch hands while doing activities. If you are
still unsure of your pre-schoolers hand dominance at this age, pay close
attention to which hand they use spontaneously when drinking from a cup,
cutting with a pair of scissors, throwing a ball and drawing or writing.
and foot dominance usually correlates, but cross dominance is nothing to worry
about! Some people are also ambidextrous and can use both sides equally well.
However, it is often better for a child to have one dominant side which is more
accurate and quicker during fine motor tasks.
is important to note that the development of the pencil grip follows a
predictable course for left and right-handed children. You will first see your
little one hold a pencil with their entire hand and making use of shoulder
movements to scribble or draw. Thereafter they will hold the pencil between the
tips of the thumb, index finger and middle finger. By the age of five they
should have a dynamic three-pointed grip like an adult and use fine, isolated
hand movements to move the pencil. It is always a good idea to provide your
child with a wide variety of writing tools and utensils to determine which they
are more comfortable with. Wider diameter pencils do not improve performance
when drawing or writing, but triangular pencils may facilitate the tripod
in mind that it is quite normal for your child to write with their left hand,
but hold a pair of scissors with their right. However, left-handed scissors are
available and would probably make it easier for your child to cut.
left or right-handed, it is always beneficial to encourage your child to
practise good posture when drawing, colouring in or writing. Your little one
should be seated with their feet firmly on the floor, next to each other and
facing forward. Ask them to sit up straight with their shoulders in a straight
line and parallel to the table. Your child’s head can be held somewhat forward
and their back a little curved, but never to the extent that their chest is
pressing against the table. The table surface should ideally be about 5cm above
elbow level when bent and the distance between their eyes and the paper or book
should be about 20cm. Position the page in the middle of their body and
parallel their dominant hand’s forearm when rested on the table. Right-handed
children may slant the top of their page approximately 25 degrees to the left,
with the paper just right of the body’s midline (the imaginary line dividing
the body in two halves). Left-handed children may slant the top of the paper
approximately 35 degrees to the right with the paper placement to the left of
that is always a good idea to encourage your child to lie on their tummy or
stand while writing or drawing at any age! Mysmartkid is
South Africa's leading programme for Early Childhood Development (ECD). Click here to
join the programme.