The question that is most often asked by teachers/parents is, “At what age do children demonstrate a dominant hand?” Children have until the age of eight to demonstrate hand dominance. Young children tend to use both hands equally as often, but by the time the child reaches between the ages of 3 to 4, one hand is typically used more often to perform most activities. The hand that is predominantly used is the hand that is able to perform the activities at a quicker pace and with smoother coordination.
Letting the Child Choose the Dominant Hand
One should not force a child to use any particular hand; allow the child to use either hand, and let the child make the selection that is most natural for him/her. There are some children, albeit very few, that are truly ambidextrous by the time they reach kindergarten. One should not force a child to use any particular hand; allow the child to use either hand, and let the child make the selection that is most natural for him/her. There are some children, albeit very few, that are truly ambidextrous by the time they reach kindergarten. Teachers do like to see one hand as a dominant hand, but hand dominance can be influenced by the person who is working with the child. If the person is left-handed, they may encourage the child to use their left hand more often. The same is true of a right-handed person; they may encourage the child to use their right hand more often. This is natural because it’s just easier for the teacher/parent to teach using the hand that is most natural for them. The best practice is to put objects the child will be using at the child’s mid-line. This way the child will reach for the object with the hand that feels most comfortable for them. The reason this is important is because there are some children (which I will discuss in my next blog) who do not cross their mid-line. These children will use the hand that is on the same side as the object they are going to manipulate and transfer it to the other hand. Or they may go ahead and try using it with the hand that has picked it up.