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Janeway

How to tell if left handed

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My little one wrote his name tonight!!!! Yay! But he did it with his left hand. This is fine and all, but there has never been a left handed person in our family, except a couple cousins where the parent who married in to the family was left handed. So if son can write his own name but still has a fist grip, would this show he is left handed? Or do we need to wait and see when he writes better and with a proper grip?

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Does your son favor his left hand for other activities? Eating, grabbing for things, etc? If so, then yes, you will probably have a leftie. If not, it maybe less likely, but I wouldn’t rule it out—I would not push him one way or the other yet, he will work it out. We could tell that DD7 would be a leftie from the get go, which was strange for me since I have none that I know of in my family. DH has only two that he knows of in his family. I think they are a bit like red-heads, they can pop up anywhere and throw you for a loop!

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His pencil grip is not the deciding factor. It's whether he consistently chooses his left over his right.

When my dc were little, I always put things in their right hands, but then let them choose. They went back and forth, and eventually settled on being righties. In both cases, I taught them how to hold their writing and eating implements properly, because the hand shape is the same, when they used their left hands to write, I turned their papers to be perpendicular to their arms so they weren't hooking their hands over the top (eventually I had to do that with my right-handed dd, but that's another story).

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I would just put the pencil in front of him and let him grab it.

I eat and write with my left hand.  But use my right for cutting, batting  everything else.

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DS13 didn’t decide until he was 7/8 to be a right hander.  Both my kids can write just as legible with their left hand, just slower.

My general/family practitioner guess by arm width, the thicker (more muscular) arm is the writing hand. 

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To identify handedness?
What you can do. Is to toss something at him, and see which hand he tries to catch it with?
Though you need to be directly in front of him, and also do it without him expecting it.
Maybe use a piece of candy.
Try this a few times, to see whether he always uses the same hand.

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When my daughter was a toddler, my MIL noticed that she was using her left hand to reach for food and toys, and said, “oh, she’s left-handed.”  

I thought that was too young to tell, but my MIL was right.  

There’s nobody left-handed in our families.  

This is embarrassing but we had our computer mouse set up with the cord in a way where it could only go on the right side of the computer, and my daughter has to have the mouse go on the left side.  

We also used to have the kind of mouse where the button was on the left side, and my daughter could not click it with her pinky.  We have a different style of mouse now.

It took us a long time to figure this out, I only knew about looking for left-handed scissors.  

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My 3.5 year old still vacillates about handedness a bit.  I'm 95% sure she is a righty because she does everything better with her right hand than her left, but when she goes to throw a ball, eat with a utensil, draw a picture, if the ball/fork/pencil happens to be in her left hand than that is the one she will use.  I have started gently nudging her toward using her right hand.  She gets frustrated when she tries to do precise tasks with her left hand, so now I will just casually suggest that she try with her other hand, and inevitably she has a much easier time once she switches to her right.

Wendy

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let him decide. ds10 still goes back and forth and we have realized that he is even-handed. He does everything with both hands except basketball where he can ONLY shoot with his left --- weird!

My mom is a lefty and she said that I showed signs of being even-handed, but when I started school, the teachers forced me to be a right-handed writer. But it shows up in other areas like I can bat with both hands and I am left-footed (track and field thing). My husband writes right and does absolutely everything in sports as a lefty ... bats, shoots, throws.

I can tell you that in sports a lot of dads train their sons to be left-handed batters. If you do it early enough, the sons have no preference and it is natural to them. So it makes me wonder if handedness has a strong link to nurture (or ability to be nutured). Maybe more of us are righties (or not even-handed) because our parents gave us things in our right hand --- so we used it more?

 

Edited by RenaInTexas

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1 hour ago, RenaInTexas said:

My husband writes right and does absolutely everything in sports as a lefty ... bats, shoots, throws.

I have a son who is a lefty in baseball (absolutely not forced as we are not sporty people - it is the side he is better with) but right-handed for writing/eating. I have witnessed where the coaches force their sons to bat left even though they are right-handed.

Janeway, it will eventually become clear. Just help with proper grip.

My sister was likely supposed to be left-handed but my mom forced her to use her right hand. My sister feels upset about this even as an adult.

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I wouldn't worry about it.  Just let him do whatever comes naturally.  We have bi-handedness in our family genes.  (or whatever it's called!)  That is, people use their right hand for some things, and their left hand for other things.  My grandfather, my father, and my dd all have this.  So for example, my dd can only write and use scissors with her left hand.  But she always eats with her right hand.  My father writes with his right, but does all sports with his left -- with the exception of tennis.  With tennis, he'd switch back and forth.  He used to liked to play the first half of the match with one hand and then surprise his opponent (if they didn't know him) by suddenly switching to his other hand for the second half.

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5 hours ago, geodob said:

To identify handedness?
What you can do. Is to toss something at him, and see which hand he tries to catch it with?
Though you need to be directly in front of him, and also do it without him expecting it.
Maybe use a piece of candy.
Try this a few times, to see whether he always uses the same hand.

 

Not necessarily. I'm a pretty strong lefty for writing and teeth brushing, but if you threw something at me, I'd catch it with my right hand every time. I also throw much better righty but play tennis lefty. 

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5 hours ago, Lecka said:

When my daughter was a toddler, my MIL noticed that she was using her left hand to reach for food and toys, and said, “oh, she’s left-handed.”  

I thought that was too young to tell, but my MIL was right.  

There’s nobody left-handed in our families.  

This is embarrassing but we had our computer mouse set up with the cord in a way where it could only go on the right side of the computer, and my daughter has to have the mouse go on the left side.  

We also used to have the kind of mouse where the button was on the left side, and my daughter could not click it with her pinky.  We have a different style of mouse now.

It took us a long time to figure this out, I only knew about looking for left-handed scissors.  

 

A lot of right handed people in the IT field will also use their mouse left handed -- to protect against carpal tunnel (Sp?)

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5 hours ago, Lecka said:

We also used to have the kind of mouse where the button was on the left side, and my daughter could not click it with her pinky.  We have a different style of mouse now.

 

8 minutes ago, vonfirmath said:

A lot of right handed people in the IT field will also use their mouse left handed -- to protect against carpal tunnel (Sp?)

 

A digitizer tablet was very helpful for computer aided design. My former boss paid for one each for all the engineers who has to do design work as part of their jobs. 

DS14 uses his laptop stylus when using his laptop in tablet mode. He can switch hands for using the stylus as he wish for drawing.

We have computer mouse that can be used by left handers and right handers. Just need to do the choice on Microsoft Windows. We have done that for years.

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1 hour ago, AmandaVT said:

 

Not necessarily. I'm a pretty strong lefty for writing and teeth brushing, but if you threw something at me, I'd catch it with my right hand every time. I also throw much better righty but play tennis lefty. 

This is my dad--uses his left hand for fine motor tasks like writing and eating but is more comfortable with his right hand for gross motor things like sports.

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5 hours ago, Lecka said:

This is embarrassing but we had our computer mouse set up with the cord in a way where it could only go on the right side of the computer, and my daughter has to have the mouse go on the left side.  

We also used to have the kind of mouse where the button was on the left side, and my daughter could not click it with her pinky.  We have a different style of mouse now.

It took us a long time to figure this out, I only knew about looking for left-handed scissors.  

Two of my kids are lefties.  It was pretty apparent by the time they were four or so - they defaulted to their left hands for most things.  (And ds also defaulted to doing cartwheels and such left-handed.)  But so far they haven't had a problem using the mouse right-handed - my oldest even games that way.  I thought about left-handed scissors and teaching them to write left-handed (I can write with my left, which was a big help in figuring out how to teach them), and the pros and cons of knitting/crocheting left-handed (you have to transpose the patterns mirror image), but mouse positioning didn't occur to me for years and years.  And by that point both of my lefties had been using the mouse right-handed for years without issue.

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Out of 6 kids I have 4 righties and 2 lefties. I never tried to influence their handedness. I would try to always put things in the middle and let them tell me which one they favored by which hand they chose to use to grab the item. I did however correct utensil and pencil grip from the time they were toddlers. I would correct their grip but if they chose to go back, I didn't fight it, I just corrected it again the next time. I also used lots of triangular pencils and crayons when they were little to encourage proper grip. I didn't care if they were left handed or right handed but I didn't want them to develop bad grips that I would have to correct later.

My two lefties are the only two left handed people in either side of the family that I am aware of and their personalities are definitely similar to each other but different than everyone else in the family so I don't think they can help being lefties any more than they can help having blue eyes when everyone else's are green or hazel. I was chastised by older family members for not forcing them to use their right hands but I have no regrets letting them decide their handedness.

It was obvious by 3 or 4 years old which hand each child preferred no matter which hand they ended up using. One of my lefties struggles to write without a hook but he also has dysgraphia so writing is a struggle period. My left handed daughter can write just fine without a hook and never particularly struggled with writing.

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2 hours ago, forty-two said:

Two of my kids are lefties.  It was pretty apparent by the time they were four or so - they defaulted to their left hands for most things.  (And ds also defaulted to doing cartwheels and such left-handed.)  But so far they haven't had a problem using the mouse right-handed - my oldest even games that way.  I thought about left-handed scissors and teaching them to write left-handed (I can write with my left, which was a big help in figuring out how to teach them), and the pros and cons of knitting/crocheting left-handed (you have to transpose the patterns mirror image), but mouse positioning didn't occur to me for years and years.  And by that point both of my lefties had been using the mouse right-handed for years without issue.

 

Our house is two left handeds (the males) and two right handeds (the females)

My husband is adamant my son learned how to cut right-handed and no special lefty scissors. We've had the mouse on the left on occasionally. Currently its on the right. No one cares enough to switch sides when using the computer.  (And he definitely switches the toilet paper when its going the wrong way)

 

Edited by vonfirmath

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Penknife or Swiss Army knives were useful substitutes for left handed scissors and pencil sharpeners. In my school time, carrying a Swiss Army knife to school was allowed. 

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I've skipped to the bottom, so haven't read all. We've got no lefties in our house til our youngest. She's now five, but it was obvious since she was reaching for our spoons to eat when she was around five months old that she's a leftie. I taught her to.cut with regular scissors in her left hand with no issues. She's now beginning to write, and has always used the left for coloring, painting, eating. There was never a doubt. 

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I've got one lefty. If your dc is a left definitely gently try to coach using right-handed scissors. It's just so much easier in life to not have to hunt for specialty scissors. It really is a right handers world out there.

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With DS, quite young, I would put a spoon and food in the middle of his high chair tray, and he would pick the spoon up left-handed consistently. (Before that, if I was spoon-feeding him, he wanted to also hold a spoon in each hand. The boy loves to eat.) He would go on to do the same with pencils/crayons, toothbrushes, sporting equipment, pretty much everything.

We have left-handed scissors for him, and our laptop has a touchpad for the mouse. Doorknobs and the can opener he just has to live with. At this point his cursive (fountain pen) is better than his printing. Tying shoes and opening packages have taken him longer to learn than average, but he's doing pretty well now.

Edited by whitehawk

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I have 2 righties and 2 lefties.    The 2 righties and 1 of my lefties it was obvious their handedness.

The other lefty it wasn't clear at all.  She is fairly ambidextrous honestly.  She also has Mixed Brain Dominance.  We don't do a lot of sports, but she prefers right-handed for most sports, including marksmanship and archery.  She writes left handed.       She also naturally mirror wrote.... When she was 4 she would write  her name starting at the right side of the page, doing each letter backwards, moving towards the left.  She reversed letters and numbers way past the normal age range too. 

Yet my other lefty never had those issues.

From advice I was given, I also taught them to cut with scissors right handed.  Haven't regretted that decision!

 

 

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My husband and I are both left handed.  His mom and both of my parents are or were lefties. Our sons are both right handed.  As I understand it the genetics of handedness is complex and not fully understood.  Lefties can be born to right handed parents and two left handed parents are still much more likely to have right handed children than left handed children.  

Edited by LucyStoner

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