Understanding Hand Preference in a Three Year Old

understanding hand preference in a three year old

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What is hand dominance and how important is it to understand your child’s hand preference? It’s essential to help your child establish her dominant hand and carry out basic tasks properly. Here are some ways to understand hand preference in your child.





Does your child use one hand more than the other while carrying out common tasks? If she uses her left hand promptly, then that is her dominant hand. Children as early as one year of age develop hand dominance; however, it may change as the child grows. Although, there’s no definite reason for a certain hand preference in a child, it’s believed that handedness depends on genetics, position of the baby in the womb and observations of the child etc. By the age of 5 or 6, your little one should have already established the final hand preference.

Facts about Hand Preference in Children

1. Importance of Hand Dominance in Pre-schoolers

Moms, as hard as you may try, establishing hand preference is not something that you can do on your own. At best, you may start looking for left-hand dominance in your preschoolers. In case you notice your kid using his/her left hand more frequently and spontaneously, chances are that the right hand will continue acting as the helper of the more dominant left hand in future too.




2. Bilateral Skills

Activities like skipping, beating a drum and throwing and catching a ball, require your child to use both her hands simultaneously. So, even if her left and right handedness is determined, you must make her do bilateral activities regularly. so her assistant hand remains active too. This will help in averting coordination delays as well.

3. Hand Preference Developing Activities

It’s difficult to answer the common query that points to when does a child develop hand dominance. However, there are certain activities that parents can introduce to kids for helping them develop their hand preference. Help her with tasks that involve one side of the body more than the other- e.g. tennis, flipping coins, playing darts. Such activities help in establishing hand dominance in pre-schoolers.





4. Switching Hands

Is your little one changing hands often while carrying out a single task? Kids switch their hands if they get tired. This indicates poor fine motor skills. If your child has right-hand dominance but uses her left hand for some time, and then starts using her right hand again, she needs to build endurance in her dominant hand. Massages, physiotherapy and other activities that strengthen the muscles can help!

5. Correlated Developments

Did you know that the hand preference development age of your child affects the development of other important skills like language and decision-making? This is because the development of hand preference has a direct correlation with the activities that rely on one particular side of the brain. So, gently and gradually, try your best to establish your kid’s hand preference as early as possible. You will be glad you did it.




Start introducing hand dominance activities to your tiny preschooler. Along with the development of handedness, she will also reach other mental and physical progressive milestones in time.