Being Left in a Right Handed World
Guest Post by Asha
We had suspected it for a while, but it was finally confirmed by the Montessori that my son went to. My son was a "left hander".
Coming from a traditional family, I already had an inkling of his grandparents' reaction. As expected, they did want us to explore if he could be persuaded to use his right hand.
Being cognizant of the immense harm one can do, by forcibly trying to alter the natural hand, we certainly didn't want to interfere in the natural progression of things. While my family reconciled to my son using his left hand for writing, the idea of him using it for eating was inconceivable for them.
As in many Indian families, eating is only done with the right hand and using the left is almost a sacrilege. So on this matter, practicality weighed in more and we encouraged him to use his right hand if possible. Fortunately, it wasn't really a hassle for him. Interestingly, while he wrote with his left hand, he still used his right for throwing a ball and performing many other actions.
As a society, there are just too many odds stacked against left handed people. Something most right handers are blissfully ignorant about. When my son offered some money to the maid with the left hand, she refused. One more thing to remember amongst a zillion other things which had to be done only with the right hand.
Don't Hesitate to Stand Up for Your Leftie Child
The constant endeavors by people to convert left handers to right handers, was all too evident one day when I found his notebooks with two different writing styles. His class notes were with his right hand, which the school teachers were forcing him to use and the homework with his left. It took a trip to the school and pretty animated discussions to make the school aware of this.
Fine Motor Challenges for Leftie Kids
Everyday activities suddenly require new glasses to view them with. For instance, my son always struggled to cut even thin paper with the scissors, as almost all the scissors you can buy in the market were exclusively made for right handers. It was only a serendipitous discovery of a left-handed scissor that solved the problem.
The way left handers trace the alphabets or the strokes while they write is very different. Many of our cursive writing books might be very difficult for left handed children, as the strokes they teach are again, you guessed it for the right handed.
Writing Desk Space
Many school benches for 2 kids don't support having different handed kids. In such cases, it's always better to have single benches , so that they have sufficient space to write.
One more challenge was the fountain pen. While most ballpoint pens support either hand, a problem arises with the fountain pen. When writing with the right, your hand never runs over the drying ink. But while writing with the left, the fingers tend to run over the drying ink, leaving smudges across the page. To avoid this problem, they often twist the notebooks to almost a 90 degree angle which is not good for the overall hand position & can create chronic pains later in life.
This is something that needs to be monitored, so that the appropriate writing style can be developed. People often use over-writing (hand above the writing line), under-writing (hand below the writing line) or side-writing(hand in-line with writing).Over-writing , also called hook-writing, is also not great for hand posture. Once a technique is developed, it's often very hard to change that later.
For the problem of smearing, you can use fast-drying ink, so that the ink doesn't get smeared, even if the fingers go over them. Even the nibs should be chosen well, as some nibs become very scratchy if dragged against their natural grain.
Today, my son is in high school and has evolved his own techniques of writing. We learnt along the way and gained a new left handed perspective.
Getting the right tools definitely go a long way to make their life easier and there are many more things available now in India as well. At times, my son gets indignant at the world being so right leaning, but as parents, we can do our bit to make it easier for our little "lefties" :)
Here are Some Resources and Products for Left Handed Kids:
Some Game Ideas for Writing Practice
Here are some games that will help leftie kids build confidence and develop essential fine motor skills while having fun! Remember to be patient and provide positive reinforcement as your left-handed preschooler practices their writing skills.
1. Letter Tracing with Colored Sand Supplies: Colored sand, tray, and a printed left-handed alphabet chart
Fill a tray with colored sand and provide your child with a left-handed alphabet chart. Have them trace the letters with their left hand using their index finger. This fun, sensory activity helps improve letter formation, fine motor skills, and coordination.
2. Left-Handed Finger Painting Supplies: Washable paint, paper, and a smock or old clothes
Encourage your child to use their left hand to create shapes, letters, and numbers using finger paint on paper. This activity promotes creativity and helps develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination for left-handed children.
3. Lefty Connect-the-Dots Supplies: Left-handed connect-the-dots worksheets or activity books
Find left-handed connect-the-dots worksheets or activity books specifically designed for lefties. These worksheets will have the dots arranged in a way that makes it easier for left-handed kids to connect them without smudging the ink. This activity will help improve hand-eye coordination and pen control.
4. Mirror Writing Game Supplies: Whiteboard or paper, marker or pen, and a small mirror
Write a word, letter, or number backward on a whiteboard or piece of paper. Place a small mirror next to the writing so that it appears correctly when viewed through the mirror. Have your child use their left hand to copy the reflection onto another piece of paper or a whiteboard. This activity will challenge their left-handed writing skills and strengthen their hand-eye coordination.
5. Left-Handed Maze Race Supplies: Left-handed maze worksheets or activity books, timer, and a writing instrument
Find left-handed maze worksheets or activity books that are designed for lefties, with the start and end points positioned to accommodate left-handed writing. Have your child race against the clock to complete the maze using their left hand, encouraging them to improve their speed and accuracy.
1. Check out this shop which has a lot of stuff for left handers -
2. Products and resources (ships to India)
3. FB Page of Left Out Stores -
Left Handed Communities
Stationery and Writing Practice Books for Left Handed:
A left handed fountain pen is available on Amazon, but it is very expensive. It would be better to experiment with different gel pens to find a pen that your child is comfortable and efficient with.
Flexible Handles Stainless Steel Blades 5-Inch. (This has a slightly bigger 16 cm version also)
Left Handed Writing Practice Books
We hope this article will offer you some ways to help your left handed child. Sign up to our site to receive updates about such useful articles on early education.
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