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  1. #1
    Gena's Avatar
    Gena is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Default What age to know hand preference?

    At what age did you know if your child was right handed or left handed?

    My son is 3 years 9 mos and does not yet show a hand preference. Even his preschool teachers and therapists comment on this. Some days he writes and colors with his right hand, other days with his left. It's the same way with eating, playing, throwing a ball, etc.

    In contrast, my niece just turned 3 and is obviously left handed.

    I'm wondering if my son's lack of a hand preference is due to his developmental issues or if this is common in other kids.
    Gena

    DS, age 10: first decade of parenting done, nine more to go!

    “Autistics are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It's that you're destroying the peg." - Paul Collins, Not Even Wrong

  2. #2
    egoldber's Avatar
    egoldber is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    My MIL (a child psychologist and former art teacher) says that handedness may not be firmly established until as late as 6 or 7, although it is also common for children to show a definite hand preference before that.

    Also, I am a leftie, but I do a lot of things right handed. I think its pretty natural for people to do some things with one hand and some with another. In the "old days" they used to strongly discourage children from doing anything lefthanded. But now that this is no longer the common practice, we see kids doing a lot more things left handed or with either hand than we used to.
    Beth, mom to older DD (8/01) and younger DD (10/06) and always missing Leah (4/22 - 5/1/05)

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    I have friends who were pretty sure their son was left-handed until he started school. Then he went fully right-handed without a blink.

    Some kids show hand preference early, some don't. Some never have a strong hand preference and just do what's easiest. It's all good.

  4. #4
    octmom is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    I notice that my DS (age 4) still switches back and forth a fair amount. My DD (almost 2) definitely shows a preference for her right hand.
    Jerilyn
    DS, 10/03
    DD, 3/06

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    Default Not decide yet either

    We also have a 3.5 yo DD who is definately not decidedly a rightie or a leftie. I thought it was natural for them to have a hand preference when it came to things like picking up crayons or paint brushes but she seems to use both. Utensils, sippy cup you name it she really goes back and forth. Glad to know this is the norm!

  6. #6
    spanannie is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    From an early early age (say 6 mos?) we could see a preference for the left hand . . . however, at almost 4, he was having delays with fine motor skills and sought help from an OT at urging of his preschool teachers. He wasn't doing age appropriate fine motor activities at that point. One of the main problems they found, which was easily corrected was that, although they saw that he definitely favored his left hand, he was switching back and forth, and never creating the dominant hand, which really hindered developing the fine motor skills. Once we got him to stick with one hand, he immediately showed great advancements . . . was drawing people, learned to write his name, cutting, etc.

    At the preschool and OT my son attends(ed) hand dominance is really expected to be established by the age of 4, or else it is difficult to keep up with the work that the other children are doing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gena
    At what age did you know if your child was right handed or left handed?

    My son is 3 years 9 mos and does not yet show a hand preference. Even his preschool teachers and therapists comment on this. Some days he writes and colors with his right hand, other days with his left. It's the same way with eating, playing, throwing a ball, etc.

    In contrast, my niece just turned 3 and is obviously left handed.

    I'm wondering if my son's lack of a hand preference is due to his developmental issues or if this is common in other kids.
    Annie ~
    Mom three Junebugs: 9, 7 and 3

  7. #7
    anamika is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Hi,
    I remember reading in a children's magazine or book (can't remember the name) that foot preference is established before hand preference. So, if you give the child a ball to kick, they will kick the ball with their dominant leg. I tried it on DD when she was switching hands and actually using her left more. She consistently used her right foot and now at 3 she is using her right hand for writing, drawing etc.
    So it worked for me but I haven't tested the theory on any other kids.
    “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
    ― Marcus Aurelius

  8. #8
    JBaxter's Avatar
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    We just went through this with Nathan. He was 4 in November and "just" started using his right hand more than his left. I talked to my ped and he said 6 isnt unusual.
    Jeana, Momma to 4 fantastic sons

    Everything happens for a reason, sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.
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  9. #9
    KrisM is online now Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    DS is 4 in April and we still don't know if he's left or right. Every now and then we think one thing and then he starts using the other instead.
    Kris

    Mom to:
    DS1 4/2004
    DD 6/2006
    DS2 7/2008

  10. #10
    MamaMolly is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    DD has been using her right hand from about 6 months on. DH was forced to choose a hand to write with when he entered into first grade. I guess the answer is that some kids do and some kids don't. Sounds like your little one is normal to me!
    Molly
    Lula '06 outgrew her allergy to milk & eggs, still allergic to peanuts and cats
    Dolly '10

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