Handedness is defined as the preference for the use of one hand over the other. Here are some interesting facts about handedness in little ones:
- for infants under 1, only about 30-50 % show a preference for the right hand in reaching for objects
- for infants under 1, 10-30 % show a preference for the left hand
- for infants under 1, the remaining show no preference
- the preferred hand may change as they get older
- more permanent hand preferences in infants don’t occur until the second year of life
Sammi showed an early preference for her left hand. We were certain she would be left-handed. Then shortly after her first birthday she started using her right hand more. We thought maybe she would be right handed after all. But now that she is more independent and opinionated (meaning she doesn’t have to exactly imitate us anymore) she has shifted back to a preference for her left hand. She fairly consistently eats with her left hand (she owns left-handed trainer chopsticks, so cute!), draws and writes with her left hand and throws a ball with her left hand. It will be interesting to work with her on writing since I’m not left-handed.
One thing we do that unknowingly influences handedness in our little ones is handing toys or other objects to a specific side of their body (always handing a spoon to the right hand). We can remove this influence (it’s not crucial to, but just for fun to observe their handedness) is to always hand objects to the middle of the body. When Sammi started preferring her right hand, I got in the habit of handing everything to the middle so she could choose and because I didn’t know what hand it would be this time. I think this also shows acceptance of whatever hand they use, especially if it is a different hand from you.
Does your little one have a hand preference?
Cute, chubby baby hands picture courtesy of Lottie Lou Design.