Tuesday, May 21, 2013
A question that I am asked frequently by parents and teachers is when should kids be forced to choose a dominant hand for writing. It seems as soon as children pick up their first crayon to scribble, parents begin to wonder whether he/she will be a righty or a lefty. The older that child gets, the more anxious parents get about forcing a hand dominance. I tell parents to let your child switch hands if that's what they do. Some children pick up a crayon and only use one hand from the start. Others switch hands up until kindergarten, or beyond. My rule of thumb is this: let them switch, as long as both are functional, until they either use one hand approximately 75% of the time, or until first grade, at which point it is time to pick (very rarely do children go this long). Parents and teachers will begin to see a child that switches become much more accurate and sure with one hand over the other. This will be the sign of which hand will be his/her dominant hand. When the child begins to use one hand more than the other, and you can clearly see the difference in performance, you can start to reposition the crayon/pencil into that hand. No worries if your child is 4 and you still don't see this. Hand dominance has it's way of naturally occuring.