With only approximately 10-15% of the population favoring a left hand, you may be surprised to discover that your own child is left-handed. It’s important to keep this in mind when teaching your child gross motor and fine motor skills, as there are a few special points to consider.
One of the most important things to remember is that if your child appears to be favoring a left hand, you should let them. If you force a child to use his right hand when he appears to be left hand dominant, you will diminish his overall coordination and he will always struggle to complete tasks with his right hand, when they could have been easily completed with the left. Check out these tips for teaching your left-handed child.
- Teach the proper grip for pencils. The grip is the same for right- and left-handed children, but to be able to see what they are writing, it is best to direct them to hold the pencil slightly further back, approximately 1 to 1.5 inches from the point. This will also help them to avoid smearing the text as their hand drags over the letters.
- Substitute pens for pencils. This will make it easier for the child to write, as it will reduce the tendency for smudging.
- Invest in left-handed scissors. Left-handed scissors have blades and finger loops that are positions opposite those of right-handed scissors. A pair of true left-handed scissors will allow the child to hold the scissors more comfortable and see where he is cutting. These scissors will also cut more accurately, as the pressure will be correctly applied to press the blades together as they cut, and will be less likely to rip the paper.
- Tell your child he is left-handed. Most children have no idea if they are right- or left-handed. It’s important that the child is aware to let a teacher or physical education instructor know they are left handed so the teacher will demonstrate the paper form from a left-handed approach.
- Experimentation. When your child is learning gross motor activities, it’s important to allow him the freedom to experiment with whatever feels comfortable. Even if he is left-handed, there are certain activities that may feel most comfortable using the right hand. Some children don’t demonstrate a clear preference for one hand or the other until the age of 5 or 6, so this period of experimentation with what feels comfortable is extremely important.
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