The question of handedness comes up quite often. When do children develop hand dominance? Developmentally, most children start preferring one hand over the other between 4-6 years. In some children this may be delayed for a few more years. Even then it isn't considered a delay. Approximately 10% of the population is left handed and there is a genetic component to handedness. Due to
Mostly parents and teacher look at handedness only when it comes to writing or eating. Is that all there is to it? What impact does handedness have in the classroom or at home? A typical school day has a multitude of activities requiring bilateral coordination and stabilization. Can your child put his books into the bag and zip it up without too much trouble? How about buttoning up that rain coat? Not to mention balancing objects in one hand while using the other for a fine motor activity...
In our culture we continue to favor the right hand. As with all norms, education should empower us to discard practices which don't hold true or are harmful. I've often seen many families struggle with their child's handedness—especially where the elders play an important role in raising their grandchildren. Forcing a child to use his right hand even if his preferred hand is left can lead to problems such as stuttering, stammering and anxiety. If your child is being forced to use the right hand, parents, be loud and clear! Advocate for your child to make his own choices.
Recently I watched my young nephew reach out to perform puja with his left and the pujari directed him to use his right each time—while the family tried to tell him to let my nephew be. After a while the pujari got it!
If your child prefers to engage in some fine motor activities with one hand and other activities with the other hand, then check to see if he/she is constant in his/her choices. If your child writes with his right hand, does he support the paper with his left? While it is not a good idea to train your child to use a particular hand, it is important for a child to develop a dominant hand as he grows older.Having a dominant hand does increase speed, accuracy and stability in performing different tasks. For this reason children should be given plenty of opportunities where they can use their preferred hand.
Here is a set of links with more information on fine motor development, handedness and how parents can support their child's skill development.
Fine Motor Skills Development-from Skill Builders Online
Tips from 'Write out of the box'
Activities to facilitate hand dominance