All children up to the age of 2 show a hand preference, but between 2 and 4 as they begin to learn motor skills, they will use both hands equally. At age 4 to 6 they again establish their preference. Here are some tips for parents who have left-handed children.

All children up to age 2 show a hand preference, but between 2 and 4 as they begin to learn motor skills, they will use both hands equally. At age 4 to 6 they again establish their preference.

In a world made for right-handed people, left-handed children can have a hard time. Pencil sharpeners, can openers, corkscrews and scissors are just a few of the challenges they have to grapple with.

Left-handed children are sometimes forced to use their right hand, causing unnecessary stress. Children should use whichever hand feels most comfortable.

Make your child aware of being left-handed

Encouraging a left-handed child to simply be aware of their hand or foot preference is perhaps the best way to help them avoid potential problems. Don’t view left-handedness as a disability.

How do you know if your child is left-handed

A child can be considered left-handed if they use their left hand for writing, picking things up, brushing their teeth, throwing a ball, or raising their hand in class. They may also use their left foot when kicking a ball, left eye when looking through a camera lens, and the left ear when using the telephone.

Left-handed children and sport

Sports such as cricket, baseball, rounders, golf, shooting, archery, and high jump require “different side” tuition.

Field hockey cannot be played left-handed and fishing equipment is designed for right-handers. But lefties often have an advantage in tennis, baseball, fencing, boxing and cricket as they have the benefit of surprise and their opponents may be forced to use a different technique, and right-handers have less practice playing against left-handers.

Some things that can make everyday situations easier:

When writing

When writing, the pencil should be held about 2cm away from the point so the child is able to see what is being written and to avoid smudging.

The body should be turned slightly to the right with the paper placed a little to their left and sloping to the right. The source of light should be above the right shoulder.

Drawing margins

When drawing margins, they should turn the paper upside down and use a heavier metal or wooden ruler rather than a light plastic one.

Where to sit in the classroom

Left-handed children can be seated on the left to avoid knocking elbows.

Tying shoelaces, neckies and knitting

When tying shoelaces and neckties and for knitting and sewing adults should sit opposite the child instead of behind or beside so the movements are mirrored. Left-handers will knit and sew from left to right and a right-handed teacher will not be able to ‘start off’.


Left-handed scissors are the only ones that can be used efficiently in the left hand and are available at most stationers. A left handed child using right-handed scissors will not be able to see the cutting line and will also find that the material slides in between the blades instead of cutting it.

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