Learning to Write Part 2: Supporting Your Left-Handed Child
Children develop hand dominance at around 3 to 5 years (but sometimes later). Hand dominance simply means that one hand becomes more active in leading activities such as writing or using scissors. It can also be indicated by asking your child to pick up a pencil (from the middle of a desk), asking them to open a jar or seeing which hand they use to brush their teeth.
Many children won't even notice that people are left- and right-handed until they start nursery, pre-school or school, as it becomes more noticeable when children sit and work together. If your child is left handed, mention it to their teacher or pre-school leader, so they can seat your child somewhere in the classroom where they will have enough space and freedom to write.
- Try not to sit a left-hander on the right of a right-hander during writing activities, as their arms will bump into each other.
- Place paper to the left of the body midline and tilt the paper clockwise to avoid the child's hand obscuring their view of the line. It may be useful to stick some tape on the table to outline where it should be positioned until the child gets used to it.
- The left fore-arm should remain parallel with the sides of the paper to prevent development of a 'hooked' hand.
- Check the child has left-handed scissors available for cutting.
- There are lots of writing products specifically developed for left-handers. Getting a left-handed pen, for example, could help the child's early writing.
- Sometimes having a sloped surface can help maintain correct posture.