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Spotting a left-handed child

 
Will your child be left-handed? Statistics show that approximately 1 in 10 people worldwide are left-handed. There's no set age as to when children show a preference over using their left hand instead of their right. Some 18-month-olds use one hand consistently, for others it’s not obvious until they are 3 or 4 years old. Find out more.
Will your child be left-handed?

Statistics show that approximately 1 in 10 people worldwide are left-handed.

There's no set age as to when children show a preference over using their left hand instead of their right.

Some 18-month-olds use one hand consistently, for others it’s not obvious until they are 3 or 4 years old.

Most children appear ambidextrous throughout their infancy and toddler years. Natural progression will eventually show which hand is going to dominate.

If both parents are left-handed, there's a good chance that 50 percent of their children will be left-handed too. But if neither parent is a lefty, the probability shrinks to only 2 percent.

In 2007 scientist Clyde Francks carried out research and found that a gene (LRRTM1) on the father’s side was a major contributor to left-handedness.

Signs that your child might be left-handed include:
  • which hand they use to hold a spoon when eating
  • which foot they prefer to kick with
  • which hand they use to pick up a toy or hold a pencil with
  • when standing on one leg, which leg they feel more secure on
 
For the most part, being left-handed shouldn't cause any major problems in your child's everyday life.

Being a lefty is not a negative thing, but the world tends to lend itself better to right-handed people as they are in the majority.
 
If you think your child could be left-handed there are some simple ways to help smooth the path for them:
 
  • Never force a left-hander to be right-handed. They will be clumsier at tasks, which in turn can lower their self-esteem.
 
  • Invest in some basic specialist left-handed equipment for them such as scissors and smudge-free pencils and pens.
 
  • Make sure they learn to write left-handed. It may sound obvious, but it's their dominant hand, and if they‘re forced to switch it may cause problems later on.
 
  • Parents can also help when their child is older by switching the settings on their computer to make a mouse or cursor more lefty-friendly.
 
  • Most children want to fit in, and because left-handers are in a minority, it can be difficult for them especially when they’re starting school, so make sure they know how special they are.

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