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Ambidexterous child?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
As an educator, I know that children younger than 4 have not necessarily determined their handedness. However, because he reached all other developmental milestones way early and because most of his same-age peers seem to have settled on a specific hand for fine motor activities, I am starting to suspect that my son, age 2 yrs 8 months, is ambidexterous. We have many left handed, and a couple of fully ambidexterous, adults in our family (almost all on dh's side) and my husband is left handed. For a long time, I suspected ds was lefty, too, because he chooses to dig in the sand box, color with crayons, and feed himself with his left hand. He also throws a ball left handed. But he doesn't kick with his left foot, and he will happily use a crayon or shovel in his right hand without switching it to the left if I hand it to him on the right side of his body. So, I guess my 1st question is: Do you think he is ambidexterous? The next question I have is, for those of you who may have ambidexterous children, has this ever presented a problem for you child when learning to write and refine other fine motor skills? I worry that he will not have enough practice with one hand or the other and not be able to develop proficiency in either left or right. Is this a totally unfounded, needless worry? I'd love to hear from other mamas of ambidexterous kids!
post #2 of 14
My DH is ambidextrous. It's not fully b/c he writes WAY worse with his right hand than his left. He can do most things with both hands. He was by far the most coordinated of his family. He's got a bro and a sis. He walked later than the other kids, but did so completely without the toddling stage, etc.

My son isn't showing favoritism for a handedness yet. I am going to nurture the use of both hands b/c that's how he is right now.

Try not to worry!

I am sorry I can't be more help.
post #3 of 14
I am ambidextrous. I write equally well with either hand; the only tasks I don't do as well w/my left hand are toothbrushing and using chopsticks.

My kindergarten teacher told me I needed to choose which hand to write with, because it would be much easier to learn to write (which was giving me some difficulty) if I devoted all the practicing to one hand. I chose my right. I can't say that really improved my handwriting--it was pretty bad until I was 9 and took a calligraphy class. I didn't try to write w/my left hand again until high school, at which point it took YEARS of spare-time practice to get good at it.

I guess my recommendation is to let your son do what comes naturally to him and not intervene unless he IS having trouble learning fine-motor skills. If you do that, then after he's mastered the skills, suggest that he practice doing them w/the other hand.

The greatest advantage to being ambidextrous is that if you hurt one of your hands, you can still use the other one! This seems to me like a reason for everyone to practice using their non-dominant hands as much as possible.
post #4 of 14
I would let him pick up a crayon or pencil and just start learning with that hand. If he switches back and forth, let him.

PLEASE explain this to his teachers. A close friend has a son who is a lefty and can't write well because his pre-K teacher insisted that he write with his right hand!
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ugh, Foobar, as a teacher to young children myself, those like the one you describe make me cringe. I think I'm probably worrying prematurely about this issue, but as is often the case, when one is in a particular industry (in my case, education) one is super-aware of the problems people face along tghe way. Maybe I'll just relax about it for now. Thanks to those who responded; I am still interested to hear others' stories/experience on this topic.
post #6 of 14
I'm ambi myself, but I have adopted left handedness for most tasks. I would just suggest letting him use both/either hand for tasks. It will all work out, and he will be fine, provided he isn't pressured to conform. But I'm sure you already know that.

post #7 of 14
Originally posted by Foobar
PLEASE explain this to his teachers. A close friend has a son who is a lefty and can't write well because his pre-K teacher insisted that he write with his right hand!
Do teachers still do this? Amazing...(by which I mean amazingly ignorant). My dad is a lefty and his first-grade teacher actually tied his left arm to his side in an attempt to get him to write right-handed. (It didn't take.) But this was back in the 1940's!

I always wanted to be ambidextrous. (This confession makes many people laugh at me.) I used to practice very hard writing with my left hand but I never got adept. All the more reason to just let nature take its course.
post #8 of 14
I'm somewhat ambidexterous.

I remember being in Kindergarten and they couldn't tell which "hand" I was so my mother had me write my name with my right and left hand and the left one won the beauty contest and they considered me left-handed.

I can write with both (left a bit better than right) I can do some other things a bit better with my right than my left (batting, for example and I catch with my left and throw with my right but that's because that is how people were taught.

I generally can use both sides equally.

....In karate I can kick better with my left foot but I think that's because I broke my left foot last fall and I could use my right foot as a better support foot (and could practice this way for weeks before regaining the use of my left foot as a support foot) This only shows up in side snap and roundhouse kicks (kakomi and mawashigeti sp)

Edited to note that I didn't notice a different in sides before I broke the foot and that my mother and teacher weren't sure about my handedness in Kindergarten suggests that I could have been ambidexterous with regard to my penmanship had I practiced with the right hand (both the penmanship and the kicks generally suck)
post #9 of 14
I know people who can't do things with both hands but who do some things with one hand and others with the other. Do you call that ambidextrous or is there another word? The most interesting one, I think, is a friend who is a car designer. He does everything with his right hand except draw. That he does, beautifully, with his left.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
My husband is completely left handed, as I mentioned in my initial post-- except that when he does his job (graphic design) he draws with the mouse in his RIGHT hand. Maybe there's a creative/artistic link to being able to use both hands? In that case, I really wouldn't mind ds being able to do so!
post #11 of 14
Isn't it a left brain/right brain thing? I think creativity comes from the right side of the brain and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. I don't know how this explains your husband... :
post #12 of 14
My 5.5 year old ds is ambidextrous. He has 6 letters in his name - he writes the first 3 with his left hand and then switches to his right for the last 3. Every time. His kindergarten teacher has no problem with this at all - just lets him be. His small motor development is just fine and he thinks it's cool to be good with both hands. He can't seem to be able to figure out why the rest of us aren't like him!
post #13 of 14
I don't think teachers now would do this. I think it was a problem a long time ago. (At least I hope so)
post #14 of 14
My dd1 is lefthanded. Not seen in my family - no, one uncle is. Dh's grampa was. I think 2 years 8 months is a little young to tell but at that age we were wondering if dd would be a lefty. She is now almost 7 and definitely is lefthanded. We knew when she was 3 1/2 or 4. But she still doesn't do everything lefthanded. I truly don't pay any attention to what she does with which hand but seems like she always writes with her left but eating can be either hand.
I have two suggestions. I would completely not worry about it. And I would set down a pencil or fork or bat or whatever directly in front of her, not to one side or the other. Let her pick which hand to use. I would just make it a non-issue. When she is older and you know for sure, you can talk to her about it and explain that most people use their right hand and the advantages and challenges she will have being a lefty (I know so few people who are truly ambidextrious).
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