question

Our daughter is 16 months. She leans a little to the left and uses her left hand when reaching for things. Is this a problem or will she be a “leftie”?

answer

If your daughter has been walking for a few months, she should look pretty even on both sides when she takes steps or stands still. When sitting, she should be centered without leaning to one side or the other. Hand preference is generally not established until about 2 years of age and is usually well established by age 5. You can encourage your baby to use both hands during play by offering her toys on her right side.  This can also be done with food or snacks. In terms of the leaning when standing, you have noted, you can play games where she needs to take steps on her right leg to get toys, climbing up steps with the right leg leading, or marching games having her stomp around.   I have included some areas for you to consider at below. If they apply to your daughter, you should have a discussion with your pediatrician: 

  • Favoring one hand, leaving the other hand in a fist or reaching across their body to grab objects, or not bringing both hands together during play
  • Delays in early motor milestones – rolling, sitting, pulling to stand, crawling, and walking
  • Stiffness or weakness in muscles on one side of the body
  • Difficulty with the early development of walking and balance
  • Asymmetrical movement and posture