Perhaps as a parent, you might have noticed your child frequently using their left hand to stick a pacifier in their mouth or noticed them favoring their left hand over their right hand.
“Oh, no many parents might think? Is my son or daughter a leftie? And does it matter?”
Approximately 90 percent of the entire human race is right-handed. And it’s been that way for centuries.
How do we know? According to WebMD, researchers measured the arm bones in ancient in Stone Age skeletons and also studied the wear pattern of ancient tools. Both reveal about the same amount of right-handedness over left, about 9 out of 10.
Further, while it can be multi-genetic, ultrasounds of babies show as fetuses they begin to use their arms at around nine weeks. And by the time the second trimester begins, they already show a definite preference for one hand over another. In other words, a preference is probably already hardwired at birth.
This roughly translates to mean that at least when it comes to preferences, it’s out of your hands as a parent.
Here are some tips for parents who have anxiety over their child’s natural preference to be either right or left-handed.
There are advantages to your child being left-handed.
According to education career news, lefties have been shown by researchers to have scored higher on tests that test factors such as creativity, imagination, or factors such as intuition.
A surprising percentage of sports stars and musicians are left-handed.
While it is true that many ordinary things such as school desks, can openers, baseball gloves, and even cupholders are generally designed for those that are right-handed, for most children, it’s no big deal.
Don’t assume you know which hand they will use.
Parents (and educators for that matter) need to be aware that young children frequently choose their dominant hand later than most parents think.
It’s not uncommon for a toddler to prefer his left hand at age 3, only to switch to their right hand by the time they get to kindergarten. And visa versa.
Let your child decide which hand to write with
There’s no question that in many languages, which work from left to right, that it is easier for children to learn how to write using their right hand.
Perhaps 90 percent of the anxiety that parents hav3e over their children preferring their left hand has to do with writing. They could care less if their son or daughter eats with their fork in their left hand, or throws a softball with it, but
writing – that’s a different matter.
Less so in the United States, but in many countries such as Brazil, teachers are actively engaged in teaching children to write with their right hand.
But various brain sensory tests have shown that when children who have a preference for using their left hand, a lot more goes on in their brains when doing so.
As a consequence, parents may be playing with fire, so to speak, trading of creating for utility.
While it’s true that a small population of people are ambidextrous, this amounts to less than 1 percent of the population. So the best advice is to let your child write with whatever hand he pleases.
Help your child learn to write using their left hand.
When your child is learning to write, if he or she expresses a preference for using their left hand, then let them. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things lefties can learn to make the process of writing easier.
Occupational therapists who deal with left-handed children all the time recommend:
- Being sure your child can verbalize they are left-handsome teachers, and quite often, volunteers will naturally grab pencils out of children’s hands and put them in their right hand. This can be traumatic. It’s also a good idea to speak face to face as well with the teacher to emphasize your child is left-handed.
- Be sure your child learns the tripod gripThe pencil should be gripped with the index finger and thumb resting on the middle finger.
- Teach your child to grip the pencil a little higher this allows your child to see what they are writing and tends to eliminate hooking their hand to writing.
- Teach your child to position the paper properly when writing as a righty. Children naturally move the right corner up higher and angle their writing style. For a left-handed child, the procedure is just the opposite. The left-hand corner of the paper should be higher, and they will angle their script slightly downward. Teach your child also to use his non-dominant hand to anchor the paper.
Adjust to it rather than fight it
A common experience is that well-meaning people, including doting grandparents, wish to encourage you to fight their grandchild growing up left-handed. The moment you notice your son or daughter is left-handed, be prepared.
Some pediatricians recommend that you clip clip several articles out that outside of the common prejudices and superstitions of people, there is no reason to make any kind of big deal about a child being left-handed.
And in fact, many adult lefties remember back to the time when their parents took the opposite approach. They made a sort of a big deal of the uniqueness of their child being left-handed.
By pointing out that Benjamin Franklin, Keanu Reeves, Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo Da Vinci, singer Pink, Angelia Jolie, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, former president Barrack Obama, Brad Pitt, Sylvester Stallone, Jimi Hendrix, Sting, Eminem, and Celine Deion are all left-handed, you continually reinforce that being left-handed may be special.
The more you are comfortable with it and adjust to it, the more your child and the family will be comfortable with it.