• Print

Got a southpaw on your hands?  This information may help.




It turns out that our four-year old daughter is left-handed. While she is still switching hands, she is now using her left hand more frequently, especially holding a pen. She is, however, holding the knife with the right hand. We haven't introduced the chop sticks just yet ;)


I would love to hear from you what to pay attention to when it comes to schooling / learning how to write and also doing craft work and sports. I know that she could have an advantage playing certain ball games. Is there any literature on this subject you could recommend?
Many thanks,
S. (mom to H)





I went and looked at the messages I have from PSP and IN SHORT, I have the following websites to recommend:






Some kids don't pick right/left preference until 7, and in general parents felt that they were not supported to develop a neat handwriting.
But there are resources to develop good penmanship, and the old Montessori methods to develop dexterity are good for both hands. So go ahead, and get chopsticks!!!!
At my son's preschool they would spend hours picking grains of rice with chopsticks, to me it looked like torture, but kids liked it and it was a ...pre-writing exercise!

You will find it interesting that Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Borromini were all left handed...and so was Paul Klee, Escher, Rembrandt and many others.

If your kids are into playing music, they will have to re-string guitars, violins and such, but piano playing requires some kind of ambidexterity that is slowly developed in time, so you might want to encourage them to play piano...or drums! Drummers too end up being somewhat ambidextrous, apparently.

Lastly, it seems that we should let the children "pick" their dominant hand, but actually encouraging (ambi)dexterity seems the way to go in general.




As a fellow lefty looking back on my early years, I would strongly recommend the following:


*Find a good friend or family member who is left handed to help give some guidance on basic things like how to tie his shoes and write (especially as you get into cursive writing). My mom will still remind me how hard it was to teach me to tie my shoes until I had a fellow lefty to practice with, and will forever love my third grade (lefty!) teacher for being the first person to make writing easy because she did not simply tell me to do everything "the opposite" from the righties and could actually show me how.

*Left handed scissors!
V., lefty, mom to K, 15 months and strongly leaning toward being a righty




We're in a similar boat - have a left handed 7 year old first grader and it's been a non-issue. I'm also a leftie as is my brother, so for me it's just the way it is. Sometimes sports can be tricky finding a left-handed whatever, but sometimes I favor the right hand or make do with the right-handed option if possible. I just suggest being vocal about the left-handedness in case minor accommodations need to be made.




Seconded on the shoe-tying -- a neighbor had to teach me. And it sounds silly, but watch out for what my mom jokingly called "left-handed intelligence tests": many games are set up for right-handed kids, and it can cause problems.


The best example: the ring toss game during field day at school. I waited in line, stood on the X where I was supposed to stand, tossed the bean bag...and broke my thumb on the metal pole on the left hand side. No one else had paid any attention to it, because they were all right-handed.


Other than that, it's fun to be a lefty!




I'm a lefty and am pretty sure at least one of my twins is going to be a lefty also, and I'm waiting with hopeful anticipation to see if I'm correct.;-) I actually write lefty and play sports righty. I think I cut with a knife lefty but could do it righty if I needed to. I find that I'm more ambidexterous than most righies I know and I think its cool.

Here's my two cents - Your daughter will naturally gravitate to do things the way she's comfortable doing them, and IMO your best bet is just let her. I don't think you need to do anything special, just don't try and correct her by putting things in her other hand (unless its something like her grip is wrong no matter which way she's trying it!).

The only things I recall as being annoying from childhood were:
1. When the teacher insisted I use those crappy green handled lefty scissors when I tried to tell her that I didn't need them bc I cut righty. She made me, and I had to sit there using lefty scissors with my right hand. This was second grade and I still remember it!

2. Graphite from pencils smeared permanently on my hand.  Actually this still happens now. :-)

3. Notebooks and desks are made for righties. It's annoying, but that's life, she'll bond in the future with other lefties over the injustice of it.

I wouldn't say this on the list but I really do believe that lefties are more likely to be above average intelligence than righties. This is based on my experience in honors classes and in college. Your daughter is lucky!  She's special. :-)  It's like being in a club.



this is totally observational and not a first hand account, but i will just say from memory: my brother is left-handed, and he always had a special little advantage in sports because he was usually very hard for the opposing team to figure out in sports. like i'm sure many lefties, he could do a ton of things right-handed. in baseball, he wore his glove on his right hand and threw with his left, but he'd bat right-handed most of the time. in soccer, he could use either foot. while snowboarding, he felt comfortable with either foot forward. it always seemed to me to be was a great asset, to have the flexibility, coordination and strength to lead with either. so hopefully that's the case for your daughter, too! she'll do great, i'm sure.



My daughter is left handed, aged 12. There is nothing wrong with this. When I was in 1st grade I remember Mrs. Flood dramatically ripping the pencil out of my left hand and putting it in my right hand -- this event precipitated my Dad coming into school and complaining; he was left handed (an iron worker -- when you visit the Deco top of the Empire State Building you will see his work -- he did most of it, but in his shop in Long Island City many many years ago). Obama is left handed and many other great artists. But Mrs Flood dire approach worked with me -- I write with my right hand BUT I feel I am ambidextrous since I play keyboard and here left and right must be equals (also I play pool with my left hand and shoot a gun as well with my left). Try this book which I discovered this year (order on Amazon): The Puzzle of Left-handedness by Rik Smits published by Reaktion Books. There is nothing wrong with being left handed.




My older son is left-handed. I think it's pretty awesome and unique. :-)

Here's a funny one, though: he's gone through years of occupational therapy to help strengthen his hands and work on fine motor skills. When I look back at pictures of the various OTs working with him to learn to use scissors and hold a crayon when he was 2, 3 and 4, I think, "Duh! Of course these skills were so
hard for him! Everyone always assumed he was right-handed!"

He's still getting OT now that he's in school, but at least they're working with his right (LEFT) hand now!

- C
(mom to Lefty-M and Righty-A)




I had the same questions (not really concerns) when my son (now 8) turned out to be left handed. I still have the answers I collected on PSP, I can share them if you like.


I remember my mom worrying about him needing special scissors (!!!!!!) and god knows what else! :-)

He is totally fine. I actually always encouraged him to use both hands, and in fact he is sort of ambidextrous: writes with his left, draws with both, plays the guitar right handed (!), has a good right hand at basketball but in soccer  always kicks with his left foot... go figure...


The only good source of information I was able to find is: http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/

Otherwise here nobody ever found his being lefthanded even a topic of discussion, and it's very very common.