A baby usually starts showing signs of hand preference at about 7 to 9 months of age, though conclusion cannot be made until he starts school. Babies and toddlers switch a lot between right and left hands for eating, hence parents cannot conclude whether the child is left or right handed. To confirm, you could make your toddler pick and throw a ball or a tempting toy see which hand grabs the spoon with the ice-cream. Never ever try to change your child’s hand preference, lefties can be raised absolutely normally, but parents need to be prepared for some small challenges.
If your baby shows one hand dominance before 18 months of age, see a doctor as there could be underlying motor development problems.
If your toddler uses both his hands at ease to pick up stuff, or eat, you again need not to be worried. Some children are able to use both their hands till they area about 5-6 years and parents need not worry if the child is ambidextrous.
The reason behind some children having a right preference while others wind up with a left is not clear – though genetics is supposed to be one. Your toddlers wiring of his nervous system, however, is probably one reason, hence attempting to change hand preference will not stay for long enough and may cause psychological problems in your child and frustrate him.
Small things that parents can do on having a leftie under the roof:
- Buying scissors, notebooks, pens, etc suiting the lefties. Market is abreast with such equipments that help in making life easier. One can even get can openers, sports equipment and toys.
- When writing, lefties may have some trouble to write on a vertical paper- which can be resolved by simply tilting the paper towards the right. This simple step will significantly make your leftie write easily.
- Lefties are also more comfortable using the “hook” grasp, which makes them see what they have just written. Teach your child to hold the pen/pencil correctly.
- Buy quick drying pens, your leftie will have a tendency to smear the ink as his hands brush his recent work when he moves down from a section of writing.
- Tying the shoe laces can be helped by making your leftie do the laces by looking at the mirror.
- Buy a left handed mouse for your computer.
- Encourage your child’s creativity and thinking.
The bottom-line here is that lefties are just at par with righties, only difference being the angle. They generally have the right side of the brain dominant, they tend to be more creative and have a holistic approach. The part of the brain that allows communication between the two halves of the brain, (the corpus callosum) is up to 11% larger in left-handed people- no wonder lefties are some of the wealthiest people in the world – Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Amitabh Bachchan, Yuvraj Singh and Barack Obama – to name a few!