Hand Dominance – Will She Be a Lefty or Righty?

Hand dominance is a term that describes your child’s preference to use the right or left hand to perform most tasks in her daily live. These task can range from holding a spoon, or stacking blocks, to drawing and writing. The hand that is dominant is not necessarily stronger than the other one. Your child just prefers to use it to do most things.

Consistent hand dominance starts to develop somewhere between two and three years of age. This development is usually fully completed by age 6 years. As the brain matures and its functions begin to differentiate, you will notice that hand dominance begins to emerge in your child. Hand preference that appears before the age of 18 months may signal impaired neurological control of the other hand and a health care provider should be consulted. Since hand preference is determined by your child’s brain development, “forcing” your child to use the non-dominant hand more often may me futile.

Hand dominance is determined largely by genetics. Studies show that only 2% of children of right-handed parents are left-handed. On the other hand, 42% of children with left-handed parents are left-handed.

In the history of many nations, being left handed was associated with social stigma. In many languages, including English, the word “right” also means “correct” or “proper.” On the other hand, the Latin word “sinistra,” from which the English word sinister was derived, meant “left,” “malicious,” or “sinister.” Being a righty or a lefty has nothing to do with being a good person. However, being ambidextrous may come in handy from time to time!