You may have probably noticed your little one being more inclined to being right-hande, or left-handed. This is especially evident when they try to throw or catch a ball, and when they use a pencil or a crayon to draw something.
There is also the chance that your child tends to switch hands depending on what they are doing. They might be more comfortable catching a ball with their left hand, but find that it is easier to write with their right hand.
Why is this the case, and should you be worried if your child does not have a dominant hand? What about if they are ambidextrous? What does being ambidextrous actually mean?
Read on to learn more about handedness, ambidextrous facts, as well as what you can do in order to support your child’s development.
What is Handedness?
Majority of the population is right-handed
First off, let us talk about handedness. Simply put, handedness is a person’s preference to use one hand over the other. One interesting fact about handedness is that majority of the population tend to be right-handed. They say that about 70%-95% of the population is right-handed, while 5%-30% are probably left-handed.
Another interesting thing about it is that this number holds universally true for all populations in the world. There is also genetic evidence for handedness, but scientists are still figuring out what exactly brought about this change in humans.
But what exactly causes handedness in humans? Can you learn to be right-handed if you are left-handed, and vice versa? Or does it just happen?
Why are some people left-handed?
Most scientists agree that handedness is related to our brain having two hemispheres, or sides. If the left side of your brain is more dominant, you tend to be right-handed, and if the right side is dominant, you are most likely left-handed.
But what exactly causes one side of the brain to become more dominant is a hotly contested topic between scientists. Some believe that trauma or damage to the brain during birth might cause left-handedness. Others believe that the changes that happen while the brain is developing are responsible for one side of the brain being more dominant than the other.
It is generally believed that since humans evolved to speak and use language, the left sides of our brains started to become more dominant. This could explain why most of the population are right-handed.
But one interesting thing is that the left hemisphere of left-handed people are just as developed as those of their right-handed counterparts. This explanation might account for the prevalence of right-handed people, but it still does not explain left-handedness.
While we are on the topic of handedness, let us talk about some ambidextrous facts.
What Does Being Ambidextrous Mean?
Being ambidextrous means that a person does not necessarily have a dominant hand. This means that an ambidextrous person may be comfortable using either of their hands to write or can easily use either hand when they are cooking, cleaning, or doing other activities.
While scientists have some idea why people are right-handed or left-handed, they still have no clear explanation as to why some people are ambidextrous. It is believed by some that being ambidextrous means that there is no dominant side of the brain.
What’s more interesting is that not all people who are ambidextrous are equally as adept with using both hands. Some ambidextrous people may use their left hand to write. However, when it comes to other tasks, they may be more comfortable with their right.
People who are able to use both of their hands equally well are actually pretty rare. In fact, these people are prized when it comes to sports. This is because they can use their being ambidextrous to an advantage.
Should You Be Worried if Your Child is Ambidextrous?
Now that we have discussed handedness and some ambidextrous facts, what does it mean if your little one is ambidextrous? Some studies have found that ambidextrous children may be more prone to having ADHD since their brains are wired differently compared to right-handed or left-handed children.
But generally speaking, there is not anything to worry about if your child is ambidextrous. So long as they are developing normally, and you are not seeing any problems or issues, then there is nothing to worry about.
Being ambidextrous simply means that your child prefers to use different hands for different tasks, and there is nothing wrong with that. It may be difficult at first to teach your child how to write, or tie their shoelaces since you might not be aware of which hand they would prefer to use. But give it time, and your child will get the hang of it.
Some Important Things to Remember
Here are some tips to keep in mind if your child is either ambidextrous or left-handed:
- Do not try to force them to use one hand or the other. This could create confusion and make your child feel that there is something “wrong” with them.
- Encourage them to try different tasks with different hands. With this, they can get a feel for which hand they are most comfortable using.
- There is no need for you to “correct” the way they hold things. When they are eating or when they are writing, as long as they are able to do the task, that is fine.
- If you find that your child constantly shifts their dominant hand, it can get in touch with a therapist. Constantly switching hands may affect their ability to use that hand to do certain tasks. By focusing on one hand, it should help develop proficiency.
When it comes to your child’s handedness, it would probably be best to not overthink things. Whether your child is right-handed, left-handed, or ambidextrous, they should not have any major problems when it comes to using their hands for everyday tasks.
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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.