Left-handed people are the unseen minority in a right-handed world, with one study estimating that they make up only around 10% of the population. They are more likely to be male than female, and left-handedness occurs at a greater rate in twins than in the general population.

Lefties do some things better …

It’s challenging to be a lefty in a right-handed world, especially when it comes to the tools and gadgets we use to make life easier, not to mention some important everyday tasks.

But that’s not to say that left-handed people are always at a disadvantage. Many of the great sportspeople are left-handed, where their unique techniques give them an advantage over opponents. Tennis, cricket, boxing and other team sports boast some talented left-handed players who have made their mark on the world.

Left-handed people often have better problem-solving skills, too. Whether this is a finely-honed skill in response to living in a right-handed world or an innate advantage is up for debate, but lefties are often good at spatial awareness tasks, logic, and mathematics.

If you have a left-handed child, you will appreciate the uniqueness they bring to family life, but there are also challenges, especially when it comes to teaching your lefty some essential life skills.

Check out my tips below to help your lefty child learn to navigate a right-handed world.

Win the shoelace war

Teaching a left-handed child to tie shoelaces is a major challenge for many right-handed parents because there is just no way a left-handed child will be able to do it the same way.

The best option is to sit opposite your child and have them mirror everything you do. Therefore, if your right hand is making a loop, their left hand will be making the loop. If this is unsuccessful, you can check out this handy blog by Ian, the founder of Ian’s Knot. This type of shoelace knot is symmetrical and no matter your handedness preference, it is the same for everyone. Once mastered, it is fast and easy, and probably the best way to save your sanity! Ian has kindly placed detailed visual instructions and even a video tutorial on his page, so it’s worth learning the knot yourself so you can teach it to your child.

It may take longer for your lefty to learn the intricacies of shoelaces … so be patient!

Paper, scissors … cut!

Teaching a left-handed child to use scissors designed for a right-handed person is well-nigh impossible and will likely only result in frustration for both of you. They are simply not designed to function from a left-handed position, and the best thing you can do is to ensure that your child has left-handed scissors at school and home.

Just for fun, try holding a pair of right-handed scissors in your left hand. Feel how awkward and uncomfortable it is? Do you think you’d be very effective with them? Now, imagine trying to learn how to use them in that position. You can picture the frustration a left-handed child might feel with a tool that is only intended for use by right-handed people.

The mouse trap

Yes, using a computer mouse intended for right-handed people is frustrating and awkward for a left-handed child. Fortunately, there are some simple fixes.

The easiest way is to buy your child a designated left-hand mouse that’s for their use only and separate from what everyone else in the family uses.

But if you want a budget-friendly option, it’s easy to program your mouse to switch buttons so that it becomes user-friendly for lefties. You can find instructions for Windows here, and Mac users can go here to find out how.

Pencil particulars

Learning to write is a very different experience for a left-handed person and can be quite a challenge for parents and teachers. Check out my tips below for helping your lefty learn to write.

· A left-handed child needs to tilt the top of their page to the right, so it is parallel with their left forearm

· Elbow-bumps might be a Covid-appropriate greeting, but it’s not fun when students are bumping elbows as they work. Have your lefty sit at the end of the row or to the left of another student so they have plenty of elbow room.

· Always allow plenty of elbow room on the left of the child while they are writing

· Make sure the child is keeping their wrist straight for the correct writing position. Many left-handed people fall into the habit of using a “hook” grip because they position their hand above their writing so they can see. The result is that their wrist curves around in a “hook” shape as they hold the pencil. This type of grip will lead to pain and fatigue over time.

· The best way to avoid the hook grip is to teach the child to position their hand below their work so they can still see, and maintain a straight wrist.

· Left-handed children have difficulty using a finger for spacing between words. Instead, teach your left to imagine a round ball shape between the words for spacing.

· It’s easy for a left-handed child to smear their work when using a pen, so choose a pen that has quick-drying ink.

At the dinner table

Many left-handed people use their cutlery in the same way as right-handed people, although this can change according to circumstances. Most prefer to hold a spoon in their left hand, and many prefer to hold a fork in their dominant hand, with the knife hand being the less dominant one.

Regardless of your child’s preferences for using cutlery, it’s important to allow them to do what feels best. To this day, some places discourage the natural use of the left hand, such as this school in the UK.

But it’s important to recognize – and celebrate – the diversity in our world, and this includes those whose preference for handedness is in the minority.

To support your child learning to use cutlery at the dinner table, encourage them to use whatever feels best and then work on growing their skills. Also, allow them plenty of elbow space at the table so they aren’t cramped or bumping elbows with a right-handed person.

Appreciate their uniqueness

There’s no doubt that lefties add variety and diversity to our world with their quirky ways of solving problems and the way they think and do things. If you have a lefty in your family, celebrate their uniqueness, and enjoy helping them to become the best version of themselves that they can be.

Alex Learns That Changes Are OK

Alex loves school. He enjoys all the activities he does during the term such as swimming and soccer. He also loves holidays and all the fun things he gets to do while he’s not at school. The problem is, Alex doesn’t like changes. His tummy gets all tight and he gets a worry cloud that comes over his brain and makes it feel foggy. When the school term ends and holidays begin or when school is about to start again, Alex feels really worried and anxious.

Alex’s Mum doesn’t want him to worry. So she does some reading and finds a really cool trick that helps Alex to feel comfortable with changes. It works! Alex is able to keep his worries under control and think about all the fun things that are coming up instead. Can you guess what Alex’s special trick is.

Alex Learns that Changes Are Okay is a beautiful book for children who find change difficult.
When you purchase the Alex Learns that Changes are OK (Flipbook), you will receive a digital flipbook that gradually changes from one page to the next while listening to high-quality audio narration as if someone is flipping and reading the book for you!

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