Left Over Right: How to Help Your Left-Handed Twins and Triplets Learn Life Skills

percentage of left handed twins

Author: Deb Hopper – Life Skills 4 Kids

Left-handed twins and triplets

It’s no secret that left-handed people are in the minority, with approximately 75% of the population being right-handed (one study estimates that truly left-handed people make up around 10% of the population. Men are more likely to be lefthanded than women, and twins and triplets are more likely to be left-handed than the rest of the population.

Lefties have some advantages …

Being left-handed in a right-handed world comes with some challenges, especially when it comes to the tools and gadgets we use to make everyday life easier.

But left-handed people also have some innate advantages over the rest of the population. Some sports, such as tennis, cricket and boxing, favour left-handed sportsmen as their opponents struggle to adjust to a different playing technique. Many of the world’s top sporting stars are left-handed.

Lefties are also better at problem-solving, a skill that comes in useful in a world that is built for the right-handed. Every day, left-handed people are faced with challenges that call for them to do things differently because they are often required to use tools and equipment designed for the right-handed.

Parents of left-handed twins will recognize the uniqueness a lefty brings to the family, but right-handed parents may also be struggling with teaching their child everyday skills such as tying shoelaces or using scissors.

Check out my tips below for helping your left-handed twins and triplets to learn essential skills.

left handed triplets

Tying shoelaces

This is a big battle for many right-handed parents because there is just no way that a left-handed child can do it the same way as their right-handed parent!

My best advice is to sit opposite your child as you teach them and get them to mirror everything you do. So, for example, if your right hand is forming a loop, it will be their left hand that does the same.

If this is not successful, I’ve found a great resource by the founder of the Ian Knot, a symmetrical shoelace knot that is equally easy for right-handed or left-handed people to manage. Ian goes into great detail on his blog, with simple illustrations and even a video tutorial. It’s worth learning to tie this knot so you can teach your little one how to do it. Save yourself the frustration and check out Ian’s blog.

left handed twins and triplets

Using scissors

The best way for your left-handed twins or triplets to succeed is to use left-handed scissors. Right-handed scissors are simply not designed for use by left-handed people, making them awkward and uncomfortable.

Try holding a pair of right-handed scissors in your left hand. Have you ever felt anything more awkward?

Now, imagine asking a child who is learning to use scissors being asked to do the same thing. Left-handed scissors are not negotiable when your child is learning to use scissors, so make sure they have a pair at home and school.

Using a computer mouse

Another challenge for left-handed children is learning to use a computer mouse. Some children manage to use the mouse in the way it was originally designed, but others need the buttons swapped around.

The best solution is to buy your child a left-handed mouse. It has the buttons reversed so your child can use their index finger on the appropriate button. This is the best option for a device with multiple users so you don’t have to keep changing settings.

For a more budget-friendly option, you can easily switch control buttons on the mouse to make it usable for a left-handed person. Instructions for Windows can be found here, while Mac users can find instructions here.

using a mouse when left handed twins

Learning to write

Teaching a left-handed child to write is another challenge for parents and teachers. Gone are the bad old days when left-handed children were forced to learn to write with their right hands (thankfully!), but the fact remains: left-handed people will never write in the same way as right-handed people do.

Try these tips for helping your lefty with writing:

  • Have the child tilt the top of their page to the right (it is then parallel to their left forearm)
  • Allow plenty of space for movement of their left arm
  • Seat the left-handed child at the end of the row or to the left of another student so they don’t bump into a right-handed classmate
  • Make sure that the child is keeping their wrist straight to avoid the “hook” grip that many left-handed people end up using. This happens when a child learns to position their pencil above the writing so they can see. The natural result is that their wrist curves around in a “hook” shape to grasp the pencil. This type of grip will cause pain and fatigue as writing demands increase throughout school life.
  • To avoid the hook grip, teach the child to position their hand below the level of their writing so they can see what they’re doing.
  • When learning to write, it’s difficult for a left-handed child to use a finger space between words. Instead, teach the child to imagine a round ball shape between each word.
  • When using pens, choose ones with quick-drying ink as lefties tend to smear their work as they move across the page.

Left-Handed twins and triplets make life more interesting

Twins and triplets are already interesting! With their quirky problem-solving skills and unique ways of carrying out everyday tasks, lefties add variety to our world and make us think about things in different ways. Helping them to become their best selves is a privilege. 

Life Skills 4 Kids

Deb Hopper – Life Skills 4 Kids

Paediatric Occupational Therapist with 20+ years’ experience whose passion is to empower OTs, parents and educators to make sense of kids’ behaviour to help them thrive.

Website: www.lifeskills4kids.com.au

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Lifeskills4kids


1 Comment

  1. As a left-handed person I would add this about scissors. There are scissors with a left-handed grip, but the blades are configured the same as right-handed scissors. Then, there are true left-handed scissors that have a grip suited for a left hand plus the blades are reversed. These will give a better cutting result than left-handed grips on right-handed blades.

    Also, the mirror demonstrations may not work. My mother tried this when teaching me to knit. Despite being exceptionally left-handed I can only knit right handed.

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