How to Teach Your Infant and Toddler Left from Right

From the moment they are born, children are learning. They are soaking up everything we do and say to them. Every minute we spend with them is an opportunity to teach them. By adding a few simple conversations to your child’s day, you can teach them the difference between the Left Side and the Right Side. I can give you a few ideas of good times to Teach your Infant and/or Toddler their Left from their Right.

When you are working with your infant or toddler, remember that their left and right is opposite. When you speak to them remember that your left side is their right.

Teaching during the Diaper Change:

Changing a diaper does not have to be all about baby wipes and stinky moments. When you lay baby down, before you start the diaper change, you can grab on to a hand or foot and say something like this:

Look, I have your right hand.
Wow, I have your left foot.

You can walk up baby’s leg or down their arm with your fingers and say:

And this is your right leg.
Here is your left arm.

End the game with:

And this is your belly right in the middle, and give them a little tickle.

I have found that is this is also a fun way to keep babies occupied during that stage when they refuse to lie still during the diaper change. When they know a game is coming, they are more likely to stay put.

When you are changing a toddlers diaper, you can ask them:

Show me your right hand.
Where is your left ear.
Cover your right eye.

And I have found that this is also a great way to keep them busy when they want to just get up and run.

Teaching in the Car or Van:

Driving around with young children is another wonderful opportunity to teach right and left and how it relates to direction. When you are turning down a street, into a parking lot or changing lanes. You can say a few simple things like:

Hey, we are turning left into the store.
Now we are turning right onto this road.

You can get more interactive with toddlers and ask them which way to go with conversations like:

When we get to the stop sign, we are turning left. Which way is left?
The park is up on the right. Do you know which way we should turn?

This is also a great way to pass the time and keep the kids occupied when they are sick of riding around in the vehicle.

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