My child keeps mixing up left and right. She’s only six, but still. What can I do to help her?

"Left? Right?" says boy, flailing arms, "I'm so confused!"For a child so young, make learning a game so she will want to continue.

  • Have her hold up her hands, fingers touching and thumbs sticking out, with palms facing away from her body. Ask which side makes a proper “L.” That is the left side. (My son used this method throughout elementary school.)Girl looking at how the thumb and forefinger of the left hand make an L shape.
  • Play Simon Says using left and right directions. “Simon says touch your right ear.”
  • Play a guessing game. “I see something on the left side of the room that is red.”
  • Create a wristband for the dominant or nondominant hand and mark it L or R.
  • Write L on left palm and R on right palm.
  • Have the child trace her hands (or if she can’t, you do it) and label one hand L and the other R. Cut out pictures for a simple wordless story, and have the child sequence them properly, left to right.
  • Let the child sit on your lap and type on your computer. Point out the way the letters always go, from left to right.
  • Your child might already play some electronic games on your phone or tablet. Show her how the Angry Bird’s shot arches from left to right.
  • Create a book mark with an L on one side and a R on the other side.
  • Create a series of dots and have the child connect them, left to right.
  • Using a doll or teddy bear, ask which is the doll’s left leg, or right arm, or left eye.
  • Play hopscotch, asking her to name the leg she is stepping on.
  • Give her a bracelet or watch to wear on special occasions on one of her wrists. Remind her which wrist she is putting it on.

Don’t get annoyed if this skill takes time. Gently offer her the correct choice and move on. Eventually we all figure it out. –Mrs. K

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