The majority of children do not develop a hand preference until they are aged three or four. Those with a dominant left-hand will often be slower to develop a good pencil grip because most activities are designed for the right-handed child.
If your child is at the stage where they are still developing their dominant hand, always place the tool – scissors, crayon, hammer – in the centre front of them rather than putting it in their hand. This allows them to decide which hand to use.
Once left-hand dominance has been established, the following tips may be helpful:
- Left-handed children often need to grasp the pencil slightly higher so that work is not obscured by their fingers. The correct position can be encouraged by placing a rubber band around the pencil or crayon.
- When writing or drawing, have your child position their hand so that it is comfortable, then lay the sheet of paper or book parallel with their left arm. This will make writing and drawing easier and reduce the risk of them developing cramp through holding the wrist in an unnatural position.
- Purchase a pair of left-handed scissors. Right-handed scissors are one of the most challenging tools a left-hander can use. Encourage your child to cut in a clockwise direction rather than anti-clockwise as right-handers do; this will enable them to see more clearly where they are cutting.
- Make teachers, sports coaches and care-givers aware of your child’s left-handedness so that the appropriate tools can be provided.
- If you are right-handed, demonstrate activities by standing in front of your child and having them mirror you (rather than standing behind or next to them).
In summary, if you suspect your child’s a lefty, don’t attempt to transform him into a righty. Forcing a round peg into a square hole may just cause more problems later. In fact, help your child accept left-handedness as a special expression of God’s creativity.
Dawn Lee is a single mother of one (yes, he is a lefty) and co-editor of http://singlemothergrant.net – a website dedicated to providing legit & relevant resources on what, where and how best to apply for grants for single mothers.