Hand Dominance- Bring in the Lefty!
Listen up, Dads, this one is for you! I know every father dreams of having a left-handed child who will one day pitch for the Texas Rangers (or should I say Houston Astros?!). While I am not one to step on any dreams, I want to address a common misconception in handedness. Let's be clear, this is NOT a skill you want to show up early. In fact, true handedness does not start appearing until age 3 and can continue to develop up to age 5.
Symmetry is key
Let’s talk about our babies. Symmetry is the key to infant development. As a baby learns basic skills like reaching for toys and bringing toys to the mouth, the brain is growing based on this information from the environment. Let's think about it, if a baby is moving one side or one hand more than the other, they are missing out on significant visual, neurological, and muscular-skeletal input from the other side of the body.
Early hand dominance can create several problems in infant development. Examples include:
Delays in soothing skills like bringing their hands to midline to hold a bottle
Muscle weakness contributing to uneven rolling and reach and grasp skills
Balance deficits leading to falls in sitting, crawling, and standing
Overall, early hand dominance can significantly delay the child's motor development and quality of movement with growth.
The Big Picture
The big picture is we want our infants to move both sides. We want to see symmetry in reaching, rolling, crawling, standing and walking. Learning these skills early in the right way is key to the future gross motor development of your child including strength and coordination. With these motor skills in place, your children will have the building blocks they need to pick up that ball and pitch their first game!