Hand Preference in Preschoolers

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At preschool we are helping children to learn to write, cut, and play using their fine motor skills. Often children are in the process of figuring out which hand they prefer to use to do these tasks. As they near Kindergarten, their hand preference should be established. It is important to reinforce the child’s hand preference in daily activities in order to strengthen those muscles and continue his/her midline brain development.

Both hands play a role in this process. When children are eating, one hand should be holding the utensil or picking up food. The other hand should be in the child’s lap. If your child uses both hands to eat, encourage him or her to sit on the non-dominant hand to avoid temptation to use both. When drawing, using stickers, lacing, cutting, and pouring the dominant hand should be doing the work while the other hand should serve as a helper to hold the paper still (drawing, peeling stickers), move the paper (cutting, lacing), and hold the receptacle (pouring).

These are all skills we practice in our daily activities as school. We encourage and remind the children to stick with the hand they use to pick up the object. Continue to help your child establish hand dominance in these activities at home as well and their ability to write and perform tasks efficiently will improve along with their confidence.

If your child is struggling with fine motor tasks and hand dominance, an occupational therapist may be helpful.

Here are some good resources for more information:

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