Ever wonder why children end up left-handed or right-handed? Is there something we as parents and educators do to influence this development? Is one better than the other? There are so many questions regarding this interesting trait in children - where are we to begin?! Well, we've done a little research and even scientists don't know the answers yet to some of these questions...but we did find some great facts to share!
The beginning stages of the development of hand-dominance is between 2-4 years old and by the time a child reaches Kindergarten, they will most likely have a right vs. left hand preference. You may be thinking, "What if my child ends up left-handed? They will be at a disadvantage!" As parents, you could be tempted to try to influence your child's hand-preference, but you may want to think twice... Studies have shown that forcing a child to use a particular hand that is not natural to them could lead to stuttering, stammering and high levels of stress in the child. So it's best to leave them to their hand of choice.
While the hand-dominance development doesn't begin until the later toddler age, the skills that influence this development begin in early babyhood. Small establishments, such as crawling, greatly influence coordination and a child's ability to establish hand-dominance.
How can parents and educators help a child establish hand-dominance? There are many activities to try with children that can assist them with this development, including an activity called "crossing the midline." When a child crosses the midline, that means they have used a hand to reach across their body instead of using the hand closest to the object they are trying to reach. For example, play a matching memory game - if you place cards on the floor face-down in front of a child, will they use the hand closest to the card or will they use the hand they are more comfortable using to flip them over (see photo).
So why is there such a big deal about right vs. left-handed? It's true, our society caters to right-handed people - but that's because roughly 90% of the population is right-handed with only the remaining 10% as "lefties." Overall, it doesn't really matter. Scientists still haven't found any reason why right-handed is better than left-handed or vice versa. BUT we found some fun facts about lefties for you to enjoy and share!
FUN FACTS ABOUT LEFTIES:
"Lefties" are better at multi-tasking.
Studies indicate that left-handedness is more common in males than females.
Celebrate left handed day once a year – August 13th – International Left Handers Day!
Approximately 50% of left-handed writers will use scissors exclusively with the right hand.
"Lefties" are more likely to pursue creative careers.
Some famous "lefties" include Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, Barrack Obama, Angeline Jolie, Justin Bieber, Julia Roberts, Mark Wahlburg and Hugh Jackman.
Left-handed athletes may have an advantage over right-handed athletes in face-to-face sports such as tennis, boxing and basketball.