Right or Left Handed Child

Updated on July 05, 2008
K.J. asks from Karnes City, TX
25 answers

I am not worried just curious. My child is a little over two and loves to color, paint, or draw. She doesn't seem to care which hand she uses. She scribbles with both her left and right hand. Is that what most kids do or does that show signs that she will use both hands?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your comments. You have helped satisfy my curiousity. I suspected that this was just a stage of learning and she will decide which hand to use in the future.

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C.B.

answers from Austin on

Most kids show a preference by this age, I think. 2 of mine did, both right handed. This disappointed my husband, as he is a lefty, and wanted a left handed child. My oldest from my 1st marriage, however, never did show a preference. Which hand she used for anything seemed totally random up until school age. We suggested that she use her right to write, since the world is set up that way. That was fine. She is now 35, a mom herself, and still does many things with either hand. She's smart and successful and artistic, so you're right not to worry.

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S.T.

answers from San Antonio on

My 2 year old has an obvious right handed preference. My 3 year old still switches back and forth between both hands. I think it is completely normal to not develop a preference until later.

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M.K.

answers from Houston on

My kids do the same thing, but they tend to use one hand more than the other with certain activities. They hold the fork with the left hand and usually color with the right. I just tell them to use the hand that feels comfortable. My mother is a retired learning disability teacher and she noted that some school aged children with learning disabilities often used both hands. The first thing she had them do was to pick a hand to write with. I am not saying that all children who use both hands have learning disabilities; I just thought I'd share the information.
Little kids like to explore and experiment. It is what being a toddler is all about.

PS: Being both handed is called ambidextrous. Don't tell my mom, but I happen to be ambidextrous. It comes in handy while playing musical instraments or when one hand is full of baby. :-)

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C.B.

answers from Austin on

Most kids show a preference by this age, I think. 2 of mine did, both right handed. This disappointed my husband, as he is a lefty, and wanted a left handed child. My oldest from my 1st marriage, however, never did show a preference. Which hand she used for anything seemed totally random up until school age. We suggested that she use her right to write, since the world is set up that way. That was fine. She is now 35, a mom herself, and still does many things with either hand. She's smart and successful and artistic, so you're right not to worry.

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G.K.

answers from Austin on

She's still trying to figure out which hand "is comfortable".
I know that's it's an old wives tale but, DO NOT encourage her to use one hand or the other. Supposedly, if you make a left handed person go right handed, it will have a detrimental affect on their learning ability. (I saw it with my sister and I believe it's called CONFUSION!)
Besides, those (very few special people) that are adept with both hands are supposed to have an unbelievable intellectual capacity.
Be patient and just go with the flow!

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L.Z.

answers from Houston on

My son will enter kindergarten in the fall. He still uses both hands -- he eats and writes with his left and most other things with his right... My suggestion would be to let your daughter decide. She will eventually choose on her own. Don't force it.

Blessing,
L.

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J.V.

answers from Houston on

don't worry!! i thought 2 of my sons were left handed because they used their left hand so much. neither of them are left handed. at that age a child isn't any better with one hand than the other. just let her do her thing, she will figure out which one is more comfortable, and which one performs better.

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S.O.

answers from Houston on

Omg you have no problems what so ever. Both handers excercise both sides of their brain. Thats great if she still hasn't decided by school age though I would encourage her to use the right for writing. The world is not easy on us left handers. People I know that are both handers though are really smart. Like I said your excercising both sides of the brain.

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K.A.

answers from Houston on

She just hasn't established a dominent hand yet, but then that is not uncommon for this age. As long as she is not frustrated by switching. Either she will "pick a side" or be comfortable with both. Only intervene if the situation becomes confusing &/or frustrating for her. I believe being "both handed" is called omnidexterus (sp?), but don't hold me to that.
Enjoy your blessed princess!!

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M.K.

answers from Houston on

My kids do the same thing, but they tend to use one hand more than the other with certain activities. They hold the fork with the left hand and usually color with the right. I just tell them to use the hand that feels comfortable. My mother is a retired learning disability teacher and she noted that some school aged children with learning disabilities often used both hands. The first thing she had them do was to pick a hand to write with. I am not saying that all children who use both hands have learning disabilities; I just thought I'd share the information.
Little kids like to explore and experiment. It is what being a toddler is all about.

PS: Being both handed is called ambidextrous. Don't tell my mom, but I happen to be ambidextrous. It comes in handy while playing musical instraments or when one hand is full of baby. :-)

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.T.

answers from San Antonio on

My 2 year old has an obvious right handed preference. My 3 year old still switches back and forth between both hands. I think it is completely normal to not develop a preference until later.

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S.G.

answers from Houston on

Just let your kid figure it out on her own. I'm 48 and when I was little, my mom relized I was going to be left handed and back in thoses days it was "NOT RIGHT" if a person was left handed. The teachers kept trying to put the pencils and crayons in my right hand, so my mom eventually told them to leave me be and let me figure it out on my own. I draw and write well, no worse or better than a right-handed person. It's really no big deal, unless they want to golf later on in life, that's about the only thing I can think of that I would have had to buy differently.

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J.D.

answers from San Antonio on

some people just truly use both hands. that is okay..you will notice that one will favor the other eventually. Its not right or wrong anymore to be left handed either. Just give it time. it will work itself out.

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L.W.

answers from Austin on

I have one left handed child and 4 right handed, with one TBA (he's only 1 year) I noticed my left handed daughter early on switching her fork to her left hand no matter what hand she was given it. Eventually most kids chose a dominant hand, often they notice that their handwriting and ease of doing things is better with one hand...I'm no expert though, just seems like this is how we discovered their "handedness" with ours. Have fun as you learn all your little ones ways...blessings to you!

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H.P.

answers from Houston on

It could be both. Many kids have no preference at that age (though some do), and they just like to have a good experience all the way around--an equal-opportunity experience! They usually jump in with both hands while they're yet fascinated with colors and textures and activities.... It's similar to how some kids enjoy feeling the ground on their bare feet or putting things into their mouths or using both hands to finger paint. It's part of exploring their environment and seeing how they fit into it. If she's using one hand at a time, she's learning how to let those hands work independently of each other and figuring out which is more comfortable in a given situation.

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M.B.

answers from Austin on

Hi Kayla,

There is nothing to worry about. Your daughter has not figured out what hand she prefere to use as her writing hand yet. When that happens (around 21/2 to 3)you will see it will come naturely, and she will only use one hand from then on! Some, not many can use both hands and there is still a difference in needness!
This is normal development!

Enjoy your princess!
M. B

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D.C.

answers from College Station on

No worries, Kayla. That makes her extra special. Keep encouraging the use of both hands. I wish I had that talent. I am so right handed it is not funny. At least, if something were to happen to one hand, she would already have the use of the other one w/o having to try to learn how to use it.

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N.D.

answers from Houston on

I have one son (now almost 30) who would use both hands and he turned out to be left-handed, while neither of his parents are. My granddaughter (not his daughter) who is just 3 was showing obvious signs of being left handed as a young 2 yr old. It wonderful that God made us all different!

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L.H.

answers from Killeen on

HI Kayla ,,
at 2 tht is whay they do ,1 way to tell if they are right or left handed is when you are dressing them whuich arm or foot do they give you first .i have a 61/2 yr olld grandaughter who is left handed we all knew when she was a baby she used her left hand to grab and reach for things now she played T-Ball this spring her daddy worked with her and she bats right handed aND THROWS RIGHT HANDED (sry about caps)but he would make her use both but she is better at it with her right hand ,but she is a lefty not a thing wrong with it
so dont worry it is to early for you to tell
good luck L.

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S.T.

answers from Houston on

All four of my girls were obvious as babies- my youngest is 1 and I know she's right handed because when she eats ect she favors her right hand. By that age my oldest child was primarily using the left hand. She is now 5 1/2 and still using the left hand.

All children do use both hands to color with to some degree until they are a certain age (usually about 3 or 4) but if she's showing NO preference I would be concerned. There's a disorder that is certainly treatable but the main problem is the inability to cross the midline point. If she is coloring with her right hand and wants to color the left side of the picture, she may change hands.

http://www.eduqna.com/Preschool/76-preschool.html

They have found using ultrasounds that even babies in utero have a preference for a certain hand and almost always are clearly right or left handed by 24 months. So by observing your child eating AND drawing AND playing if you STILL don't see an obvious preferance you need to call Early Childhood Intervention. They will do a free evaluation and often in home therapy is free as well. This is only till she is three, though, and then you have to look into the school system for help, so it should be looked at as soon as possible.

Blessings, S., mom to 1 in Heaven, 4 on Earth and 1 "deep in the waters." My girls are on the autism spectrum, and problems crossing the midline can be a comorbid syndrome of autism which is why I know about it. I also have a certificate in child development. :)

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D.B.

answers from Killeen on

I wondered the same thing. Most kids do not care which hand they use until they are almost 3 years old. I could finally tell when my son was reaching for food and utensils with the right hand. Also, when he would go to stand up froma seated position, he would use his right arm to push. I am left-handed, so I watched the whole process to see if he would be a lefty, but he is 6 now and is right handed. Just keep an eye on it, it will become obvious soon enough. = )

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A.C.

answers from Houston on

Our son was exactly the same way...he will be 8 this month. In everyday tasks he is right hand dominant (occasionally using his left too), but in sports of any kind he is left dominant. We now have him practicing with the hand he is not dominant using (he writes with his right, so he practices with his left to color and write etc.) and he has gotten really good at using both in whatever he does (his writing and coloring still could use improvements with BOTH hands!! LOL).

We let him take control on this issue…. and it has given him the opportunity to be ambidextrous!

Good luck

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S.S.

answers from San Antonio on

I think your daughter, like me, is ambidextrous. Awesome for her! My mom says I used to do the same thing.

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S.O.

answers from San Antonio on

Very normal for a couple more years.

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L.Y.

answers from Dallas on

Don't worry! As an elementary teacher of 14 years (and having taught special needs 3-5 yr olds)I can ASSURE you that children often don't completely pick their dominant hand until 5 or sometimes 6. Many children will start displaying a dominant hand around 2-3, but even then will sometimes use the opposite hand. When you hand her things, always hand them towards the right hand. If she reaches across consistently with her left, she is likely going to be a lefty. But don't worry! Kids at this age can do many things well with both hands! God bless you in raising your family!
L.

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S.R.

answers from Beaumont on

Same as everyone eles they will eventually go to one dominant hand it is way to soon to tell

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R.F.

answers from El Paso on

Hi! Both of my kids, Levi age 8 and Aliese age 3, are able to use both hands and it started at a young age. They both draw and color with the left, but will sometimes use the right and do just as well...It is a mystery to me and my hubby because neither of us are lefty? But it is really cool...

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M.P.

answers from Austin on

Hi, Kayla!

In my experience as a preschool teacher, children often do not choose their dominant hand until around the age of 4 or 5, even though they may tend to favor one or the other at an earlier age. I have a 3 1/2 yr old daughter who is just now starting to favor her right hand, but she is still using both hands regularly to color, eat, etc. Hope this helps :)

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