August 02, 2014

Life with a Left Handed Kid

life with a left handed kid

If you know what a Southpaw is you’ve probably already guessed I’m left handed. It’s no secret I’m a Lefty, and proud of it too!

With National Left-Hander's Day right around the corner, Wed. Aug 13, it reminded me of the challenges I’ve faced as a lefty growing up. 

Now I have a left-handed child, and I know he’ll face many of the same obstacles. If you’re a parent with one or more Southpaw children, it helps to know how they think and what difficulties they face from day to day …

Left Hander’s Think Differently

We lefties think with our right brain, which is responsible for music, art, perception and emotion. This side of the brain thinks in straight lines. Your lefty is likely to be skilled at math, science and sequencing.

Proving the point, my 3-year-old, left-handed son recently organized all of his and his brother’s Hot Wheels cars by color and placed them in individual zip-top baggies to store them properly.

I read that high levels of organization and being very neat is a trait of Southpaws. So I guess that explains why he was compelled to organize his cars. Looking back, I used to do the same thing :) Still do ... just now with beads.

School Presents Unique Challenges for Left-Handers

Since only 10-15% of the population is said to be left-handed, school can be a left-hander’s nightmare. It caters to the majority -- righties.

The "Converters"

When I went to school, teachers were still trying to convert left-handers to the "other side". I remember my teachers placing my pencil in my other hand and me thinking "what are you doing!?! that doesn't even make sense to me, stop it!". However thank goodness times have changed and being a southpaw in school is embraced and accepted.

Left-hander friendly school supplies?

When it came to school supplies, spiral notebooks were not my friend. Impossible to use with a left hand while writing. The spirals always dug into my hand. To this day I have to use top-spiral notebooks. And, to this day my hands still get smudged with ink, like this.

Desks made for right-handers leave lefties feeling the pinch. Imagine having to continuously sit stretched with your left arm reaching to the right side of your desk to take notes. Plus, computer keypads and the mouse, athletic equipment and scissors were made for the right handed. (In my day there were never left-handed scissors at school, so cutting anything was a challenge.)

Living in a right-hander’s world makes completing tasks more difficult for your left-handed child, so it might take him longer than his peers to finish classwork. I remember wondering why I was a little different as a child being left handed. Beware potential self-esteem issues arising from this, however me being told by my family that it is something special made me start to look at with completely different perspective.

Tip: Writing Without Smudging

You might have noticed left-handed children tend to leave school with their hands and sleeves covered in graphite smudges. Teach your child to tilt his paper to the right, and hold a pencil the correct way to avoid the mess and potential embarrassment. Quick-drying pens and left-handed spiral rule notebooks help too.

For more left-handed factoids and tidbits, check out my Pinterest board, “I’m Left Handed … What’s Your Superpower?

And, if you or any of your children are left-handers, use the #lefthandersday hashtag on Twitter or Instagram to join in the community.

If you are a lefty and or your child, what are some of the daily hiccups that happen to you?