How do I know if my child is right-handed or left-handed?

How do I know if my child is right-handed or left-handed?


In his first year, your baby grasps things around him, sometimes with both hands. At the beginning, we do not necessarily pay attention to the dominant hand but the question arises quickly, especially during the first painting and drawing activities. At this moment, how to know if your child is right or left handed ? Can we know this from a very young age or should we wait for the first coloring and writing activities? Does heredity have a role? To answer all these questions, there is no need to consult the stars! It will above all be necessary to be observant and, if necessary, give your child a laterality test to make sure you get the answer.

right handed child

At what age do you become right-handed or left-handed?

At what age can you tell if a child is right-handed or left-handed?

At the age of entry to school, around 2 or 3 years old, one can already be tempted to want determine if a child is right-handed or left-handed. However, it is a little early. Before the age of 5 or 6, it is not uncommon to see a child change dominant hand within a few days. One week you think he is right-handed and the next week he grabs his pencil with his left hand to finally come back to his right hand some time later.

This is a normal step. Before 6 years, the laterality of the child is not yet assured 100 %. In other words, the fact of being right-handed or left-handed can still evolve and change over time.

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However, some children declare quite early (around 4 years old or a little before) a dominant hand and then never change it. These are often children who are attracted to graphic or fine motor activities. These activities actually require the use of hands and fingers with precision. Whether it’s for fun with tools or for drawing, it requires the wrist and the whole hand as well as the shoulder. They then naturally develop a stronger motor skill on one sideeither right or left.

How to know if my child is right-handed or left-handed: the laterality test

To know if a child is right-handed or left-handed when the doubt persists, it is quite possible to make an appointment with a psychomotrician to perform an engine check-up.

However, the wait for an appointment of this type can be long and full of pitfalls. These specialists are often in high demand and depending on the region where you live, it can take several weeks or even months before you get the sesame.

In the meantime, to help you see things more clearly, there is a free laterality test developed by Danièle DUMONT. She is a doctor of language sciences and author of the handwriting learning method of the same name.

This does not replace a psychomotor assessment, but this test still offers specific points of attention. The general idea is as follows: you will observe how your child performs certain everyday gestures by checking on a document whether he performs them with his right hand or his left hand. Among other things, you will have to observe with which hand he uses the toothbrush, scratches his head or catches a gesture in height, etc. This must be done in an informal setting, your child must not feel observed. You must take note discreetly without him thinking he must pass or risk failing a test.

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Observations should be made at least 5 times each to be able to establish an average and allow you to know if your child is right-handed or left-handed.

know if my child is right-handed or left-handedknow if my child is right-handed or left-handed

Know if my child is right-handed or left-handed

Is my child right-handed or left-handed by heredity?

In left-handed families, it is often believed that this fact is due to heredity. True, but only partly. There is indeed a good more likely to have a left-handed child when both parents are left-handed, but it is not systematic. Two right-handed parents can very well have a left-handed child, for example. Other factors come into play, including the environment, which we will discuss a little later in this article.

In addition, some children can develop a dominant hand on the left or on the right by mirror effect. Placed face to face with a friend, a child can unconsciously reproduce his gestures and use one hand by mirror effect. Thus, a right-handed person may find himself using his left hand if he is placed in front of another right-handed person, and vice versa.

In the same way, a young child who is just beginning to pick up pencils does not yet really know how to use these tools. He will therefore seek to imitate what he sees around him. In effect, pencil handling is not innate. To know how to proceed, your child will then naturally operate by imitation. He observes you writing the shopping list or filling out administrative papers with this or that hand and will instinctively say to himself “this is how it should be done”.

In short, your child can be left-handed by heredity, but he can also be left-handed by the influence of his environment, his relatives or his friends.

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Are there still upset left-handers?

It’s a fact, we live in a right-handed world. Whether it is for school materials, clothes or even the way in which we turn the pages of a book, everything is done to encourage us to use the right hand in priority over the left hand.

Classic scissors are made for right-handed people, the same goes for buttonholes on clothes, the direction of traffic in cars, etc. In short, even if the time when children were forced to be right-handed is long gone, our environment can still create so-called “upset left-handers”.

That is to say, if you leave free choice to your child for the use of his hands and he has a natural dominance of his left hand, he will still use his right hand for convenience. Let’s take an example: without paying attention, you systematically place the glass of water slightly to the right of the plate during meals. For convenience, we will get into the habit of using the right hand to grasp it. Another example: while coloring, the child grabs a marker with his right hand and opens it with his left hand since it is his dominant hand, the one where he naturally has more strength. The cork is then in his left hand, which may encourage him to use the other hand to handle the felt. In this way and unwittingly, a child can be tricked into becoming right-handed.

At first glance, these small events are not necessarily noticeable, but this can become problematic when learning to write. So be vigilant in his early childhood to avoid favoring the use of one side more than another.

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