Hand dominance

Hand dominance is where one hand has more influence or control than the other. This is sometimes referred to as hand preference, where one hand is preferred or chosen over the other, as it is more reliable in performing a range of skilled activities (handedness).

Children tend to develop hand dominance between the ages of 3-5 years old, for some it may be slightly later and for a few it does not become a subconscious decision until they are 8 or 9 years old. Many children will naturally develop a clear right or left hand dominance which is greatly influenced by their genetics.

Hand dominance becomes more important as a child matures and begins to learn and master the key skill sets they need for school; such as how to use scissors and write. These kinds of activities require one hand to have good and controlled fine motor skills (action/dominant hand) while the other hand either holds, feeds or stabilises an object (supporting/helper hand).

How to check if my child is right or left handed

Watching how a child performs these types of tasks can help you to discover a child’s hand dominance or in slightly older children (5 - 6 yrs old) whether extra support in developing a hand dominance is needed.

Activities to identify the dominant hand