Hand Dominance

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What is hand dominance?

When one hand is consistently used more than the other hand, and is more skilled at tasks than the other hand, then that hand is considered to be the dominant hand.

This is also referred to as hand preference.

There are differing views on when hand dominance is established, but most experts agree that hand preference begins to emerge between ages 2 and 4 years, and that most children entering Kindergarten (age 5-6) have established a definite hand preference.

Why is it important that my child has a dominant hand?

Some people are good at using both hands (ambidextrous) and they love to flaunt their skills, but it is much better for a child to develop strength and dexterity in one hand. This will help them to develop accuracy and speed with fine motor tasks, particularly handwriting. It is far better to have a specialised hand to do the job well than two mediocre hands.

scissor cutting activity for kids

This does not mean that the other hand gets neglected! In fact, the other hand has an important role to play as the assistant hand, or “helper” hand – for example, holding the paper still while the dominant hand writes; manipulating the paper while the preferred hand cuts with scissors.

If your child struggles to use both hands together well, then bilateral coordination activities will help develop these skills. Read my article to find out how bilateral coordination helps your child to develop handedness, and try the suggested activities to develop these skills.

How does handedness develop? Sure, genetics plays a role in determining whether your child will be left-handed or right-handed. But surprisingly enough, your child’s bilateral coordination skills have a huge impact on how your child’s handedness develops .

Which hand will be dominant?

Why does my child swap hands in fine motor tasks? Switching hands is common in young children, but not such a good idea for kindergartners. If you are concerned about your child swapping hands, then read more about switching hands and get some ideas on how to help your child.

How do I know if my child is left handed or right handed? This article by Clinton Hackney has some helpful activities you can do to determine your child’s hand dominance. opens in a new browser window

Other Resources

OT Mom E-Book: Activities for Bilateral Coordination

Resources for left-handed children opens in a new browser window

Marianne Gibbs: Hands-On Hand Dominance: Information for Teachers and Parents – a pdf document (http://writeoutofthebox.com)

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