5 ways to help your left-handed child thrive

Use these handy hints to help your little leftie embrace her uniqueness and succeed in a world designed for righties.

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Stay-at-home mum Carina Lim, 33, had an inkling that her daughter Abby might be left-handed when she noticed that her tot always used her left hand to reach for her pacifier.

She adds, “Abby would use her left hand to insert and pull the pacifier out from her mouth. When she was older, she would use her left hand to feed herself.” Now aged 5 and a confirmed leftie, Abby writes with her left hand and uses it to eat, for sports , as well as for craft work. Although surprised at first, her right-handed parents did not attempt to convert her into a rightie.

Lim states, “Abby’s great grandmother seemed to view her left-handedness as a disadvantage or weakness, but to us, it does not make any difference whether she is right- or left-handed.”

Although you may notice that your child favours a certain hand, hand dominance is only confirmed at around ages 5 or 6.

However, it did make a difference to Abby now that she is growing up. She faces several challenges navigating a world where most products are designed for righties. Challenges faced by left-handers like Abby include tying shoelaces, cutting with scissors, fastening buttons and zippers, playing racket games and using a pencil sharpener.

Lim recalls, “Writing was especially challenging for her. She had to learn to position the paper in the way that was best for her. Lefties push when writing while right-handers pull; Abby had to master handwriting strokes that were opposite of what we are used to. The smudging was terrible, too! Her hands would be smeared with ink whenever she used markers, as her hand would rub over what she had just written!”

Suspect you’re raising a leftie? Although you may notice that your child favours a certain hand, hand dominance is only confirmed at around ages 5 or 6. Once you’re sure you are raising a leftie, do keep these things in mind.

1.            Acknowledge and encourage

Recognise your child’s left-handedness and encourage his or her uniqueness. Don’t try to influence his or her hand preference as this may merely end up frustrating or confusing the child. Make left-handedness feel like a blessing instead of a bane and introduce your child to famous left-handers like our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and former US Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Entrepreneur Grace Tang, 33, has always encouraged her son Sean Goh, 4, to be comfortable about using his preferred left hand. “Sean has always been kinaesthetic and independent — we have always encouraged this in him. Hence, he has never felt at a disadvantage. Attitude is the most important as we project this on our children. If we appreciate and celebrate their uniqueness, they will never feel that being left-handed is an issue at all.”