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Left or Right: How Toddlers Pick a Hand

When her daughter turned 27 months, Sherry Glaser of Jonesborough, TN, worried that the tot was missing a milestone: handedness -- the preference for using one hand over the other. "I thought that it would cause confusion and frustration down the line," says Glaser. Not to worry, respond the experts. Handedness doesn't need to develop until school age. "The focus should be on helping kids develop manipulation skills in both," says Teri Allen, clinical director of The Children's Therapy Center in Battle Creek, MI. Meanwhile, you might see your kid:

Switch off perfectly
This is true ambidexterity, and it's rare. Only 1 percent of the population fits this mold.

Use alternate hands
Going back and forth depending on the task is pretty common. Kids will use one for fine motor skills, like writing, and the other for gross motor skills, like throwing a ball. 

If your toddler's always switching off and can't master tasks with either, tell your doctor. This may signal a problem that could benefit from treatment or therapy.