Spotting a left-handed child

When will you know whether your child will be right- or left-handed?

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Once your chid is on the move and starting to talk, interesting clues will begin to emerge as to her future personality. It’s also around this time that she’ll start showing a preference for using her right or left hand.

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If she’s left-handed, then she’ll be among 10 per cent of the population.

There’s no set age as to when children show a preference; some 18-month-olds use one hand consistently, others not until they are 3 or 4 years old.

Signs of left-handedness to look out for include:

  • which hand your child uses to hold a spoon when eating
  • which foot do they prefer to kick with
  • which hand do they use to hold a crayon or pencil
  • when standing on one leg which leg do they feel more secure on? Lefthanders may find it easier to stand on their left leg.

If you think your child could be left-handed there are ways to smooth the path.

‘Firstly, make sure they learn to write left-handed,’ advises psychologist Dr Stephen Williams. ‘It may sound obvious but it’s their dominant hand and, otherwise, will cause a lot of problems later on. Never force a left-hander to be right-handed. They will be clumsier at tasks, which can lower their self-esteem.

‘Investing in basic specialist left-handed equipment like scissors is a good idea too, but above all, be supportive of your child.

‘Most children want to fit in, and because left-handers are in a minority, it can be difficult for them, so make sure they know how special they are.’

Remember that left-handers are at an advantage in many sports. Left-handed tennis players (Monica Seles, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl…)for example, have enjoyed great success.

This may be because left-handers are used to playing right-handers, but right-handed players are less accustomed to facing a left-handed opponent. 

To buy products specifically designed for left-handed children – scissors, pencils, pens and so on – visit anythinglefthanded.

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