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Help for Hands


By Barbara Greenspan, OT, Pediatric Occupational Therapist


When will I know if my child is a left-handed or right-handed?


You may see signs of “hand preference” as early as 12 months. Hand dominance is usually established by the age of 5 years old. A great way to “test” this is to constantly place objects directly in front of your child at their “midline” (the center of their body). Watch to see which hand they use to pick up the object. Repeat this five to ten times for a few days in a row for more valid results.



How can I help my child learn to use scissors?


Teach your child that the small hole is big enough for only one finger (the thumb) and the larger hole is for 2 fingers. The correct way to hold the scissors is with the middle finger and the ring finger inside the larger hole and the index finger sits outside the large hole to help direct the scissors around curves.


The best way to start learning scissor skills is by making short, small snips.


Cutting straight lines is next.


Cutting around curves is the most difficult.


Three-year old children can do some very simple cutting and by age 5 a child should be proficient with scissor skills. By then they are using one hand (the dominant hand) to open and close the scissors and the other hand has the job of holding and turning the paper.

More FAQtoids:


What are some indoor activities I can do with my child? Barbara Greenspan, OT
Help for Hands Barbara Greenspan, OT