Son Wants to Use Both Left and Right Hands.....

Updated on March 23, 2010
K.H. asks from Poway, CA
27 answers

My 5 year old seems to use both his hands when doing all activities. He appears to use mainly his left hand when writing and his left foot when kicking balls but he can use his right side just as well. I received a note from his teacher about working with him to help him develop a dominate hand for writing, opening things, using scissors etc., but I"m not sure if I want to encourage him to use a certain hand. (If I did it would be his left since his skills seem better and more purposeful when he uses his left) Does anyone know if this develops at a certain age or should I be coaching him??? I have lots of lefties in my family and my uncle is truly ambidextrous. Thanks for your feedback!!!

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So What Happened?

You all are the best! Thank you so much for your feedback. I think I'll stick with my original instinct and also take your advice and let him just use both hands for whatever he wants to do. I might nudge him to use his left more for writing so he can master that skill (he writes much better with the left hand and also has better control over scissors etc. with his left). I'm not very concerned now, after reading all your stories. I think he will be just fine :-) Thanks again ladies!!! What a great site for feedback!!!

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answers from Honolulu on

My 6 year old has always been the same way---we watched him at home and the teacher watched at school and we both realized that he is predominately left handed. We decided that he needed to write with his left hand---and everything else can be done with whichever hand he chooses. He seems fine with this and if he happens to write with his right hand it's no big deal... you should research ambidextrous people---very interesting!! Good luck!


answers from Dallas on

My husband is ambidextrous and it is no problem at all. In fact, I am jealous. He can write with one hand while using the calculator with the other. He can bad righty and lefty.......keeps the pitcher confused!


answers from Barnstable on

Most lefties are very adept at using both hands (whereas righties like myself can barely open a door with my left hand :) )

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answers from Denver on

Being ambidextrous just may run in your family. Other kids who have no hand dominance may also have trouble with handwriting or some other fine motor skills (either in 2D 3D or both)

Try working with him doing activities where he crosses the midline of his body. That's where he uses his right hand on the left side of his body and vice versa. It also incorporates rotating the upper torso when he crosses the midline.

Batting a t-ball or baseball
ping pong
paddling a canoe
touching toes - right hand to left foot
tumbling or gymnastics
using a rolling pin to cook or make playdough
Drawing at an easel with his feet stationary
walking a straight line crossing one foot in front of the other
puzzles - put all the pieces on his right and have him grab all the pieces with his left hand
tossing a ball to a target on the opposite side of the midline
sweeping, mopping, shoveling, raking
turning one end of a jump rope

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I totally agree with all the ladies that say let him decide for himself. Just Thank God that he has hands to use. My in-laws are that way with my daughter and it makes me very upset. When they see her use her left hand they tap it and make her use her right hand. I thinks it's no ones business what hand they use. You said your self you have an uncle that is ambidextrous so he just might be following in his foot steps. I think it is great that they are able to use both hands. It just makes them that much more special.



answers from San Francisco on

I grew up the same way. Today, I am ambidextrous and it has served me well. My brother was forced to be left handed only, and he has also done well, but, when I hurt my left wrist, it was handy (If you will pardon the expression) to be able to use my right hand as well.



answers from Los Angeles on

This is so up my alley! My daughter had the same issue and they said that she had to choose a hand. I was at odds because she wrote well with both and did many different things with both hands too. Alas, we noticed that she was predominately right. She ate with her right hand, brushed her teeth, when she went to pick something up it was predominately right, so we pushed for right. It was the right (no pun intended) thing to do. Now for my son, he used his left hand to eat, and write and do everything with. Interestingly enough he only shoots a basketball with his left hand, he bats right handed, kicks right footed, skateboards with his right foot as the predominate one, but he is lefty all the way when it comes to writing, cutting with scissors, etc. Very interesting. I was very ambidextrious when I was younger too. I am right handed, but played kickball only left footed. I could bat left and right.
Just check into the most predominate things that the hand will do and then choose. Then practice with him, cutting, writing, etc. He will grow up to be just fine! Have fun!



answers from Kansas City on

I would definately encourage him to use both, if he can. If he can use both of them just fine, then why encourage one over the other? I don't know why so many teachers do this. My brother was a leftie, and his K teacher made him write w/ his right hand. My other brother is a leftie, and another brother writes w/ his right hand, but does everything else w/ his left. I'm just the opposite and pretty much do everything w/ my right hand. Kids develop what comes natural, so I would let him do what comes natural. Good luck!



answers from Honolulu on

As an adult that is strong in both I have to say "why?" Who cares if he can do everything with both. I find I can do thing much better and faster because both my hands can do thing. My husband is a doctor and can use both as well and he has found that it cuts times down when he has to give someone surgery. (shorter time open, less likely for that person to get an infection... or some other complication).

I would ask his teacher why he needs to have a dominate hand at all.



answers from San Francisco on

You don't need to coach him. Let him decide on his own, he will eventually. =) My husband and I were both forced to be right handed but even now we use our left to do certain things. Our daughter uses both hands (7 years old) and we don't comment. I honestly think it is a benefit to use both.


answers from Spokane on

I can see how the teacher would want him to pick his "writing" hand, and I am inclined to have him choose one, unless he wants to put in the extra time and practice with both hands?
For everything else, I say let him use both, how ever he wants. I think if you let him develop naturally he will be all the better for it. We also have lots of leftys in my family and our oldest child is a lefty...although the only things he does with his left hand is write and eat! Every thing else: sports, scissors, opening things... he uses his right...and he has never complained about any of it, not once. Kids are amazingly adaptable!



answers from Los Angeles on

I agree that your son should decide but he needs to be encouraged to pick one soon because it will really help with school. My son is 7 and he's ambidextrous as well and seems to favor his left hand also. (My husband, my mother in law and my mother are all left handed, I'm not). My son does everything with both hands and in preschool/Pre K he wrote with both hands. However, the Pre K teacher was concerned that his fine motor skills and writing would not be up to speed to keep up with the amount of writing required in Kindergarten - which is a lot! She encouraged us to help him pick one hand. My son is a September baby so he started Kindergarten when he was 4 years, 11 months (keeping him back was not an option because intellectually and socially he was ready). The summer before Kindergarten we took him to an Occupational Therapist. They worked on his fine motor skills and worked on writing with each hand. We worked on the Right hand first and he was able to write beautifully. We then went on vacation and planned to work with the Left hand when we came back. Then we were going to let him decide which hand he wanted to use in school. We felt using one hand in school would help keep his work consistent. When we came home from vacation my son didn't want to go back to OC to work on his left hand - he refused to go. So we told him if that was the case that he had to write with his right hand in school and he could use his left for other things - like baseball and tennis. So far this has worked out great using his right hand. I do feel that he is really "more" left handed but again the writing required in Kindergarten and First and 2nd Grade (they are doing book reports) is much more than we had to do and picking one hand will help keep his work neat and focused.

Good luck! Hope this helps.



answers from Houston on

I agree with everyone else about letting him develop naturally. You might want to get clarification from the teacher on what she meant. I'm wondering if what she was driving at is that perhaps he seems behind in his fine motor skills and she was thinking that if he used the same hand all the time the skills would develop more quickly then if he is alternating between both hands. If this is the case, I would simply provide more opportunities for him to practice but continue to allow him to use whichever hand he chooses at the time.

Good luck,



answers from Chicago on

My son will be 7 in 2 weeks, and he has always, and still does, use both hands for everything!! He kicks with both, he throws with both, writes with both, etc. Sometimes I think I see more dominance in one over the other, but I'm usually wrong! I've also had teachers "prefer" that we work with one over the other, and every time I let them know I'd rather just let him do what is comfortable for him, and if that is using both, then so be it. Don't let anyone try to encourage your son to change his ways. If he was meant to use both, then he will. I think it is a great advantage, especially when it comes to sports!!



answers from Anchorage on

I would encourage that he continue to practice with both! How wonderful it would be to be able to do things well with both hands, especially should one get injured for any reason. I do not see any reason for the teacher to ask you to change his natural tendency to use both, kids use whichever hand feels right, if they both feel right than that is a bonus!



answers from Mansfield on

Encourage him to use both if he is comfortable with it. His writting skills- because that is important you should maybe have him work a bit harder on his more dominate left hand, but other than that good for him that he can use both! My daughter (6) is a leftie but does many things right handed too (she can bat right handed but coordination is better left but can catch and throw both ways) I think she uses her right hand for scissors. Kicking a soccer ball she doesn't have a dominate foot (which is great because that is something m right footed son really had to work at). My dad is the same way he only writes and eats left handed- he plays guitar, bowls, bats, pitches, uses the computer mouse, etc all right handed.
I think dominance would be developed by now- so he is probably ambidextrious like your uncle. Hope this helps :)



answers from Las Vegas on

I'm with most of the other moms -- Let your son decide which hand to use to for tasks. Maybe he can learn to write with both :) My husband is a natural lefty but was forced by teachers and parents to learn everything right-handed. Well --- his penmanship is awful and he's switched back to left hand for many other tasks. It's still largely a right hand world, but there are "special" products for lefties such as scissors, etc. In my opinion, this argument is a non-issue; he'll work it out.



answers from Los Angeles on

Tell the teacher in a nice way to mind her own bisness. That there are left handsd and right handed people in our family and that he will decide as he grows older. Many genuises are ambidextrous A. no hills i am basicale left handed and some times rt handed i became a nurse raised 4 children and now am86



answers from San Diego on

There are plenty of lefties in my family too, myself included. We write with our left hands, but as you said, do many other activities, such as using scissors with the right. I believe this is just adaptation of the left-handed to a right-handed society. Notebooks, desks, cooking utensils, etc. which are designed for the right-handed. We develop, by necessity, the ability to use both hands, as opposed to righties, who don't need to.
I personally have never seen a problem with it. I see it as an advantage. (especially when playing tennis...)



answers from Detroit on

What does it hurt to use both? My daughter is the same. She is strong in both. I am not picky, but I have never heard of a teacher telling a mother to coach their child to pick. I would tell them to worry about teaching my child instead of worrying about what hand they use.



answers from San Luis Obispo on

I agree with all the posts that say to let him do what is natural for him. I love that I can use both of my hands (frisbee, anyone?). It's fun sometimes to see other's amazement as I think this is normal. :)

On a side note, have you had his eyes checked? I found out that what hand dominance I do have is related to my vision. My right eye has clearer vision. I don't know if it's scientific but it was informative to me.



answers from Indianapolis on

As someone who's ambidextrous, I'd highly encourage letting him go with what is natural.

I'm the only person who is a lefty in my family, but all I do left handed is write and eat. Everything else (throwing, gymnastics, brushing my hair/teeth) is predominant right. It's allowed me to do many things I'd never have been able to had I truly been dominant one way or another.

There have been times being left-handed has been challenging. Picking where to sit at restaurants, using desks in college......but, if you've ever noticed, most brilliant people are predominant left. Check which hand your physician writes with, your pharmacist, etc.

If you believe that hand dominance is truly tied to different parts of the brain, I gladly welcome the diversity of being multi-gifted. I wish one of my kids were dominant left, but our daughter is showing a proclivity to both left/right dominance, and I love it.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

This happened to my husband 35 years ago. His mom let him use both hands and the teacher wanted him to only use one. He writes with his right hand but can also use his left hand for tasks. He is also an excellent drummer. He says encourage the use of both and buy him a set of drums!



answers from New York on

I would just add that if you have an interests in teaching him an instrument later in life (say piano) this would be a great asset there as well. Let him decide for himself. He has years ahead of the establishment trying to force him into a groove. Let him explore where he wants to be while he still can.



answers from Dallas on

Let him develop naturally. My son used both hands and eventually used his right to write. But he still colors with his left hand if he is working on the left side of the page and vice versa - he's 9. The real question is: what difference does it make to the teacher, as long as he is getting his work done. I'm curious how old the teacher is?


answers from Dallas on

My son is very similar. He kicks left, and does all sports left. But, as for eating with a utensil, writing, coloring, etc... he is comfortable with both.

Here is what I did to help him pick a writing hand. I had him draw a circle and I watched which way he went. If he went to the right first (counter clockwise), then I would consider him a "righty" for writing. If he went the other way (left first/clockwise), then I would teach him to be a "lefty" for writing.

Hope that helps. My son is 7 now and very comfortable with writing with one hand and doing sports with the other. :)


answers from Dallas on

I agree with most of the others; let nature take it's course. My oldest son is entirely left handed, and my youngest (6 years old) uses both hands. He uses his left hand primarily for fine motor skills (writing, cutting, eating), but once in awhile will use his right, and uses his right hand most of the time for gross motor skills (throwing, golfing, etc.). It's interesting since no one else besides my boys in the entire family is left handed. My oldest can't do anything at all with his right hand. Being left handed is something my boys have bonded over. :-)

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