Is Your Child Right-handed or Left-handed?

Is Your Child Right-handed or Left-handed?

Does it matter if your child is right handed or left handed? How is this determined? Keep reading to know some simple exercises which will help determine handedness.

Studies show that 85% of the population is right-handed, but the number of left-handed people is on the rise. But what determines a person’s handedness?

Statistics suggest that handedness runs in the family: 90% of children born to right-handed couples are right-handed, while 50% of children born to left-handed couples are left-handed. 80 percent of children born to mixed couples tend to be right-handed.

How handedness emerges

Is Your Child Right-handed or Left-handed?

If you give your baby a rattle, she will most probably hold it in her right hand. This does not determine her handedness later on. | Image source: iStock

A child chooses his or her preferred hand only when a skill such as writing is needed. Until then, parents can’t be certain which hand their child will favour.

However, all children go through a period dubbed as the “chaotic phase”, where their preference for handedness can shift from one to the other. Babies will constantly experiment with their hands before selecting one.

Experts have noted that right-handed children tend to be more certain about their handedness than left-handed kids, who tend to shift their choice from left to right, and then left again.

There are many theories about how handedness ultimately emerges.

An article that appeared in the Science Daily supports the fact that handedness can also be genetic and that scientists have now isolated the network of genes responsible for it using research from Oxford, Bristol, Scotland and the Netherlands universities.

In the same article, a scientist from Oxford, William Brandler said, “As with all aspects of human behaviour, nature and nurture go hand-in-hand. 

“The development of handedness derives from a mixture of genes, environment, and cultural pressure to conform to right-handedness.”

Parental influence

Is Your Child Right-handed or Left-handed?

A simple exercise such as holding a toy can help parents determine which hand their little one prefers to use. | Image source: iStock

Experts also believe that parents should not force kids to favour a particular hand.

They should instead lookout for signs of handedness and encourage them to use their preferred hand, as forcing a child to change his preferred hand could result in learning, developmental and personality issues.

However, in rare instances, a child may not choose a dominant hand even at the age of five or six. This might be confusing for a child who has started school and does not know which hand to practice writing with.

In situations such as this, parents can help out by using the following simple situations to determine handedness and help their child improve skills like writing and painting.

Simple exercises to determine handedness

Is Your Child Right-handed or Left-handed?

Try out these exercises. | Image source: iStock

When parents use the following exercises, it is important to note that the child should not think of it as a test. If a teacher is testing a child, it is best to test one child at a time to avoid confusion.

1. Toy hammer

Present your child with a hammer toy with pegs that pop out, and let your child pick up the hammer himself. Don’t hand the hammer to her. Make note of the hand he uses.

2. Hand puppet

Get two hand puppets and place them both on the table. Ask your child to pick one first and note the hand he picks it up with. After this, pick up the other hand puppet up and roleplay with your little one.

3. Play ball

A simple game of ball will help determine which hand your child is more comfortable using.

4. Screwing lids on jars

This is yet another simple skill that requires a child to use the hand he is comfortable with.

5. Eating utensils

When placing eating utensils such as spoons and forks, place them above the plate instead of them just on the right. Let your child pick it up and eat it with whichever hand he is comfortable with.

6. Lock and key

This exercise is great for a child three and older. Lock a padlock and give your child the key. Again, don’t hand it to him, keep it down and let him pick it up.

Keep a count of how many exercises were done with the right hand and how many were done with the left. This should help you determine which hand your child prefers to use.

If your child hasn’t yet chosen his or her dominant hand, we hope these simple exercises will help determine your child’s handedness.

Is your child right-handed or left-handed? Let us know by leaving a comment below.  


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Written by

Minoli Almeida

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