Learning Left and Right | Teaching Kids Left and Right

Many kids with learning and attention issues have trouble learning left from right. Confusion about this can make it hard to do things like solve math problems. “If I want to write the number 24, do I put the 4 on this side of the 2 or on the other side?” Left-right confusion can also make it hard to do things like follow your soccer coach’s directions. Fortunately, there are some easy ways you can remind your child which is left and which is right. Here’s a neat trick if your child has a good handle on which way the letter “L” goes. Have your child place his hands palm down on a piece of paper. With a marker, trace down his left index finger and across his left thumb to create a capital “L.” Explain that when he needs to figure out which side is left, he can hold his hands out in the same manner and see where the “L” is. Another good strategy is to actually label your child’s hands. There are ways you can do this without embarrassing him in front of his friends. You can use a favorite sticker for younger kids or a temporary tattoo for older kids. Bracelets or wristbands can also be a subtle way to mark your child’s dominant hand. For example, you can remind your child each morning that he’s right-handed and that his blue wristband goes around his right wrist. Later in the day, when he hears “left” or “right,” he can glance down and use the wristband to quickly figure out which way to go. You can even use the inside of your child’s shoes as a teaching tool. Writing a simple “L” or “R” can help. But it might be more effective, especially with younger kids, to put in half a smiley face or pretty much any other image that has a clear way of fitting together. For example, you can make or buy a set of stickers that show an animal’s head and front legs in the left shoe and show an animal’s hind legs and tail in the right shoe. Then label each half of the sticker with “left” and “right” or “L” and “R.” These visuals can help your child remember left and right. Even after they seem to have mastered left and right, look for ways to practice during daily routines. With younger kids, you can do the Hokey Pokey or play Simon Says. With older kids you might say, “Please set the table, and put the fork on the left side of the plate.” Or ask your child, “Which way should I turn to get into the park? Right or left?” With lots of practice and encouragement, you can help your child feel more confident about knowing left from right.

14 thoughts on “Learning Left and Right | Teaching Kids Left and Right”

  1. Left right confusion makes you have difficulty remembering left and right. I often times confuse my right hand for my left hand and my left hand for my right hand

  2. I get confused because my teachers say to the left and they r putting it in the right bit it’s from our perspective

  3. I’m a jr. in high school and still get my left and right mixed up sometimes because back in kindergarten when they taught us right and left, they said right is the side the side of your arm that you write with left was the opposite and because I was the only left handed kid, it confused me so I thought for the longest time that my left was right and my right was left

  4. Helpful tips. Felt disturbed that the child was referred to as "he" which shows male dominance. Switching between he and she OR even better referring to the child as they or them would feel much more relaxing & meet my needs for respect, consideration & inclusion.

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