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when do children decide whether they're left or right-handed?

(14 Posts)
snowgirl Sun 31-Aug-08 10:42:46

Just wondered. My dd is coming up to 4 and still doesn't seem to prefer one. She switches in the middle of doodling depending on which is more convenient (and, I think, as a result is not very good at controlling either hand).

moocowmrs Sun 31-Aug-08 10:57:18

Sorry to tag more questions on and have no answers but I was wondering about this as well, ds is 2.9 and will only hold sissors in his left hand, stuggles as sissors are right handed wondered if it is too early to tell which hand he is going to favour. or should I buy him some left handed sissors, he also swaps hands when coloring etc.

Acinonyx Sun 31-Aug-08 11:08:25

Dd (3) does different things with different hands. Not sure yet but she only uses left-handed scissors.

Seona1973 Sun 31-Aug-08 12:51:07

my sister's dd didnt really choose a hand till she was at school - she used to colour in one half of a page with one hand and then switch the crayon to the other hand to colour the other half in - she ended up right handed!! DS has been showing a preference for his left hand for a few months now and he is only 22 months. DD (4.9years) is right handed.

BBBee Sun 31-Aug-08 13:01:06

varies a lot, hand dominance begins to really take hold at around 4 but is not a worry if it hasn't.

asteamedpoater Sun 31-Aug-08 19:40:54

I used both hands until I was nearly 6 years old - am now right handed and very dextrous (although still pretty good with my left hand at most things). I discovered an old school "report" not long ago from when I was 5, commenting on my not-very-good handwriting and tendency to swap the pen from one hand to the other. It soon improved once I'd stopped using both hands and is now very neat (no, honestly!).

My eldest son, now 4.5 years old, has been using his left hand for writing and most other things for the last year and a half, except for eating with a spoon which strangely has always been something he has chosen to do with his right hand. He has been able to tell left from right from a very early age (I think part of the reason why I was late establishing hand dominance was that I wasn't actually that clear on left and right until relatively late). In the last three weeks, he has announced a desire to be right handed, and is now very competently writing with his right hand. I'm now a bit confused, as I know it's pretty normal still to be swapping over, but to be stubbornly one thing and then another is not quite so common, I think.

ReallyTired Sun 31-Aug-08 19:43:57

My son was clearly right handed from six months old. I care which hand he used it was just instinct.

I think its one of those things like blue eyes. Prehaps left handed children experiment with their right more because they see other people using their right hand.

Hulababy Sun 31-Aug-08 19:47:32

DD was very definitely right handed for writing from very early on, it was obvious well before she was a year old.

She does however use her cutlery like a left handed person, she appears to be left footed too.

snowgirl Sun 31-Aug-08 21:47:36

Thanks. Interesting and useful stuff. What do they do in school? Do they try to get children to show a preference or leave them to their own devices?

Ledodgy Sun 31-Aug-08 21:50:52

My 2.5 year old is definately left handed, he eats left handed, draws left handed and uses his left hand when he cuts with scissors. I'm quite suprised that he holds his penicil/pen correctly as well because all the left handers I know hold it slightly differently he also has no problem with scissors.

asteamedpoater Sun 31-Aug-08 23:12:54

Snowgirl - I think the general philosophy in pre-schools and the first year or two in primary schools these days is to try to leave children to decide for themselves, unless they've got to about 6 and still haven't chosen one hand over the other.

I think I read somewhere, also, that left-handedness tends to become apparent sooner, on average, than right handedness, but basically we are all on a spectrum of "handedness", from those who are extremely right or left handed to those who continue to be able to use either hand for most things all their lives. And it is also true that you can be right handed but left footed, or vice versa.

horseymum Mon 01-Sep-08 14:15:55

i thought it was decided in the womb- i think it would be fairly rare for your child to be left handed unless there are several (especially male i think) family members who are. me, my dad and my fil all are and ds is too- from about 6months or earlier iirc.dd is right handed. I am more towards the ambidextrous though and it has never been a problem. i could write with my right hand if forced to. From personal experience it is good to be able to use both for things but think you may need to find out more with regard to writing as it may slow down progress if there is not a clear choice- i doin't know this, i used to be a teacher but not for a while. it is important to get advice with pencil grip - mine is noraml but you see lots who have a very awkward style which then cramps the writing (this is true for right handed children- lots of times it is left uncorrected and makes writing more tiring later on)

asteamedpoater Mon 01-Sep-08 19:40:28

horseymum - I think the chances of having a left-handed child if both parents are right-handed is actually not far of 10%, so certainly not rare enough not to consider that your child may be left handed.

Overmydeadbody Mon 01-Sep-08 19:46:16

I don't think children 'decide' whether they are right or left handed, it is decided for them by their genes and to do with the brain wiriAs others have said, it varies from child to child as to when they display a strong preferance. I could tell with DS by the time he was a year old that he was definately left hand dominant.

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