A handy hint

Your child’s character is developing before your eyes. Now he’s on the move and starting to talk, clues will emerge as to his future personality.

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It’s also about now that he’ll start showing a preference for using his right or left hand. If he’s left-handed, then he’ll be among 10% of the population. There’s no set age when children show a preference – some use one hand consistently by around 18 months old, while others don’t until they are 3 or 4. If you think your child is left-handed there are ways to smooth the path. ‘Firstly make sure they learn to write left-handed,’ says Dr Stephen Williams, ‘And never force a left-hander to be a right- handed. They will be clumsier, which can damage confidence.

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‘Investing in equipment like left-handed scissors is a good idea too, but above all, support your child. Most children want to fit in, and because left-handers are a minority it can be difficult, so make sure he knows that he is special.’

Left-handed children’s scissors cost £3.75, from www.anythingleft-handed.co.uk

Now that your toddler’s social skills a re developing quickly, encourage him to make friends with others.

DO ask children of the same age round for tea or invite them to your child’s birthday parties, as this will help him practice being sociable.

DON’T try to force your child to make friends with another child; they should be able to make their own decisions.

DO be aware that how you relate to people can influence your child’s behaviour with other children and adults, so remember to set a good example by being positive and friendly.

DON’T humiliate your child in front of other children, as this can lower his self-confidence and make him less likely to form friendships.

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DO go out and about with your child as much as you can. It can be hard work but it’s very rewarding, and you could even extend your own social network.

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