Our younger son is destined to be a lefty.  He does EVERYTHING left-handed and always has.  And, we are already beginning to see where little modifications will need to be made for him to be a successful lefty.

These days, you can actually find supplies specifically designed for lefties.  Spiral notebooks are now available with the spiral binding along the right side instead of the left.  Scissors specifically for left-handed people are available, from the basic red-handled preschool scissors to upper-end adult shears.  Pencil grips are a great investment; make sure you get one marked with an “L” for left-handed people.  Grips are excellent for teaching correct pencil/pen holding regardless of hand preference; just make sure you get the one right for your child.  In fact, I ordered the Melissa and Doug triangular crayons (available in regular and jumbo sizes) for my younger son for this very reason – they are a nice, large size and are like a built-in grip for him to practice correct hand position with a writing instrument.  Triangular chalk by Melissa and Doug is also available.

Left handed children have a natural tendency to do everything from right to left instead of left to right, so work with your child on this.  You can draw a green line down the left side of the page and have him or her draw or write from that point.  Left-handed children are more apt to draw circles backwards (clockwise), and this can been an issue when learning to write letters like c, o, q, s and others.  So, it is important to adjust your child’s ideas of the writing process (left to right).  Bear in mind, though, that you do not want to make your child feel like they are doing something “wrong” when what they are doing comes perfectly natural as a lefty.  Encourage and praise when they do it right, but don’t dwell on it if they aren’t to the point to correction yet (as an aside, many lefties will typically “mirror write” for a while before correcting it, and that is okay.  Just model correct form when you can).

Give your child plenty of elbow room, especially on his or her left side.   And slightly elevate the writing surface on the left side, so that the crayon, pen, pencil, marker, or whatever tends to move “downhill”.  When a lefty is sitting next to another child, the best position for the lefty is on the other child’s left side, so as not to bump together.  And, realize that their writing will be “smudgy” especially if they are practicing and using the left-to-right format.  It is okay.  And, sometimes (but not always), lefties prefer their computer mouse on the left side of the keyboard.

When teaching a left-handed child how to tie shoes, the easiest strategy to use (as a right-handed parent) is to sit across from them and mirror the task.  As a left-handed parent, though, sitting behind the child or beside the child and modeling the process is easiest.

If your child loves to play sports, you will need to be mindful of certain aspects, such as a “lefty” glove in baseball and golf clubs for left-handed people.  Lefties will bat on the other side of the baseball plate as well.

 As with any special need (and in my book, my lefty-son is awesomely special!), patience and positive encouragement will account for 90% percent of the success a child has.  Making the acquisition of skills as a left-handed individual fun and non-threatening will pay off in the long run!