Help! I have a left-handed child

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My wife and I have made an interesting observation regarding our youngest daughter, Elizabeth. It seems that she is following the path of a diverse range of individuals that includes; Barak Obama, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Winston Churchill, Neil Armstrong and, ummm, Melinda Messenger.

left-handed, left handed, development, education
As Elizabeth is getting more and more into writing and drawing, we find her increasingly using her left hand.

Guessed it yet? No? Well let me reveal all; it seems that our youngest daughter is left-handed.

Credit where it’s due, it was in fact Mrs Adams who first had suspicions Izzy, as we call her, might be a member of this exclusive club. If anyone in this family was going to pick up on this, it would be Mrs Adams as she is herself left-handed.

This has only come to the fore as Izzy has become increasingly interested in writing and drawing over recent months. In the past you could never be too sure which hand she would use. This left us a bit unsure which hand would become dominant. There’s certainly no confusion any longer; you can pretty much guarantee you’ll find her using a felt tip or pencil with her left hand.

left handed, left-handed, development, education
Here is famous left-handed actress Drew Barrymore. Note the hand she is using to hold the microphone! Pic credit below.

The other pastime that Izzy increasingly enjoys is football. She was kicking the ball to me the other day and I noticed she was using her left leg.

You’re probably thinking “so what?”. Well, yes, you’re absolutely correct. The days when teachers thought it acceptable to tie a child’s left hand behind their back and force them to use their right are long gone. Quite rightly so too.

Even so, I have done a little reading up on the subject. It seems that we’ll need to pay extra attention when it comes to things that require very fine motor skills such as tying shoe laces. Well, as her right-handed father, I may have to pay extra attention.

It had never even occurred to me that left handed individuals would do such things differently to us righties, but apparently this is the case. I shall need to keep an eye on this and ensure I don’t unwittingly ‘enforce’ right-handed ways upon Izzy.

The obvious issue that stands out is teaching her to write. Mrs Adams and I have already taught Helen, our older right-handed child, how to do this. It’s clearly going to be a different experience with Izzy.

left-handed, left handed, development, Barak Obama
If this left-handed man can learn to write, there is hope for my daughter.

It seems we may also need to splash out on expensive sports kit. Lefties can be highly sought after on sports teams because they catch right-handed people by surprise. This is interesting as Helen is more artistic whereas Izzy is showing signs of being sporty (not that anything should necessarily be read into this, apparently left handed folk are often very artistic).

The other interesting fact is that Helen and I are both right handed while Izzy and Mrs Adams are lefties. We have an even 50/50 spilt between the household.

I’d be interested to hear from other people who have left -handed children. Is there anything else we need to know? Any mistakes we should avoid making or advice you can give? Please do leave a comment below. This is a bit of a leap into the unknown for me and any hints or tips will be gratefully received.

Pic credits; Drew Barrymore pic; Josh Jensen. Reproduced under Creative Commons agreement. Image cropped and framed by John Adams.


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33 thoughts on “Help! I have a left-handed child”

  1. Hi John, I don’t have a left handed child, and it wasn’t until I read your post that I stopped to consider what having a child who is left handed must mean. Teaching them to do things like tie shoe laces and even peel potatoes has to be done the other way round. Easier said than done.


    1. I’d never thought about it but I’ve had such a great response to this blog post and picked up so many hints and tips. It was well worth writing.

  2. Kelly Edwards

    I’m a lefty!!

    I would say the biggest impact is writing – when you’re trying to copy letters, it’s hard as a lefty as you watch how the hand moves – this often leads to us leftys to write letters backwards as our brain tries to understand how your hand should move. I remember it being hard from when I was little! But it’s also important to remember that she may not be a lefty at everything. I use scissors with my right hand and eat the ‘normal’ right handed way without feeling pushed into it. I always had left handed scissors but found them harder! So I’d keep an open mind an offer both to let her make up her mind as to what she prefers using. Hope that helps!

    1. Thanks Kelly. It seems she eats right handed, but everything else is left hand / foot. I’ve had such great advice from all you lefties so thanks for commenting.

  3. Notmyyearoff

    I always wanted to be left handed when I was little as my dad is left handed. He said the only thing he struggled with is smudging his handwriting when writing with an ink pen.

  4. great post! I’ve got 2 left handed boys – groan – boys aren’t known for their love of handwriting so chuck in the left handed element and its a double whammy. saying that my eldest’s handwriting is improving and my youngest is 3 so just developing a pencil grip.

    great tip for buiding hand strength is to use plenty of playdoh I’ve found that really helped my 8 year old. He presses really hard as well but we are working on that.


  5. My 18 year old daughter is all left sided and playing football she was a nightmare for defences because when she was young I would encourage her to kick with her right gave her an massive edge in the game they never knew which way she would turn and it didn’t hold her back represented her country Wales at junior and senior level and writing etc has never been a problem great post love the fact your daughter playing football I was very involved in girls football in Wales for years great post #brilliantblogposts

    1. There you go Nige, something else I need to consider if she continues playing football. That’s really helpful advice and great to hear you had a role supporting girls’ football. It’s a game I believe to be on the up.

  6. Interesting. My husband is left handed. Our eldest is definitely a RH, like me. The little one is unconfirmed…I wonder if she’ll make ours a 50:50 unit?…
    Thanks for linking to #coolmumclub

  7. Really interesting as our 3 year old seems to be left handed or definitely prefers it and both me and her daddy are right handed.
    In fact, no one in our families are left handed so I’m really interested in how we teach her the basics and how she deals with it as she gets older! Fascinating! 🙂

    1. Yeah, it is fascinating. I didn’t appreciate how different things might be for Izzy until I sat down and really thought about it.

  8. I found this really interesting as we suspect one of our twins is left-handed, I didn’t realise he was in such brilliant company 🙂 I had never thought about things like doing up laces or what that would mean for playing sports. #coolmumclub

    1. Neither had I thought what impact being keft handed would have. I’m delighted to have had so many comments to this blog post. I’ve learned such a lot.

    1. There we go, one further thing to look out for. I’m so glad I wrote this post, I’ve had so many superb comments and hints and tips.

  9. This is a really interesting post! I am a fellow lefty and completely the odd one out in my family – both my parents and all 5 of my siblings are right-handed! But I do a lot of stuff right-handed, probably due to the fact I’d copy my parents and siblings. I felt incredibly special when I was 11 and my nan bought me a left handed fountain pen to use at big school- previously I hadn’t been able to use one as the nib is the wrong way for ink to come out smoothly when you’re left handed (who knew?!) My son is only 10 months but I’m hoping he’ll be left handed as he always eats with his left hand (exclusively, he rarely uses both hands to eat) and when picking up toys etc he favours the left. I might finally have someone join my gang 🙂 #coolmumclub

    1. Best of luck with your son. As you are left-handed you already know what to look for. For me it is unchartered territory.

  10. Our twins are both right handed, as am I and their dad. This was an interesting read as I’ve never really thought about it, probably because the girls use their right hands. Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

    1. I’d never even considered it but I’ve received some fascinating comments to this post. Just have ot make sure we don’ force her to do things right handed.

  11. As a fellow left hander I can honestly say some things are harder than others. Let Izzy choose her natural way to eat, write, cut and the shoes laces! I eat right handed and can’t use left handed scissors for love nor money!! Golf lessons as a left hander were interesting too!! Welcome to an exclusive club Izzy!! ????

    1. Interestingly Izzy eats right handed but she’s showing signs of doing everything else left handed. I’m wondering if this is why she has got frustrated when trying to use scissors in the past.

  12. Hello – glad you liked Melbourne on your recent visit. Had we known you were over you could have come to watch my left handed daughter play football she is 22 years old, left handed but right batting as my husband describes himself (clearly a cricket reference!) She plays tennis with her right hand. So my first point is left handed does not necessarily mean left footed, but if she is left footed she will be highly in demand in the football team! My daughter plays football at Women’s National Premier League level and although she favours her right foot more, she is better than most on her left foot!
    Apart from some smudgy handwriting I never remember many issues having one out of our three kids left-handed.

    1. Well there you go! If I’d had time I would have loved to see your daughter playing football. Anyway, Elizabeth is showing all the signs of being left handed and footed. I’ll let you know if she ever plays football professionally!

  13. We thought Tilly was left-handed to the extent of buying her some left-handed scissors, although now it’s looking rather less clear. It’s another facet of our children where we have to adapt our thinking. In my case Tilly is much more like her Mum in personality – a fierce extrovert, so I have to be mindful not to hold her back by the ways I’d naturally do things.

  14. This is such a great post for me because we’re in the same boat. Our youngest is showing signs of being left-handed and, like you, I’m right-handed with no idea of the implications, My husband does some things with his left and others with his right (probably as a result of being forced to do things the RH way as a child) but my daughter and I are right handed. The only thing we’ve done so far is to buy a pair of hand-neutral scissors as traditional RH ones are hard to cut with if you’re left handed. I’ve been reading through the comments too which have been super helpful. Thanks for posting this John!

    1. I’m glad you’ve found it useful Michelle. I have found the response of left-handed people to be really charitable. The comments left here have been so useful.

  15. What do you mean ‘If this left-handed man can learn to write there is hope for my daughter’? Strange comment and very unprofessional for your blog.

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