Learning How to Tie Shoes

Teaching a child to tie his/her shoes is an important developmental landmark – parents dream of the day that securing shoes onto a toddler is no longer a part of their morning routine.  Any parent who has been through it, however, knows that teaching this important lesson is easier said than done.

Tying shoelaces requires some serious fine-motors skills.  Skills that most children will not begin to develop until at least the age of four.  Once your child has mastered dressing, it will not be long before he/she be ready to start tying his/her own shoes.  When you feel like your child is ready to make the leap, here are some tips to help ease the process:

  • Don’t rush.  Children develop fine-motor skills at different times, so it’s completely fine if your little one is not quite ready to tackle this task.  If it seems like you are not getting anywhere, there is no shame in putting a few more miles on those slip-on sneakers.
  • Use a kid-friendly method.  Try using the one-loop or “Around the Tree” method, which tends to be easier for children to master.
  • Make it big.  There are simple ways you can help your child practice the art of tying on a bigger scale  Make cardboard cutouts and lace them like real shoes (as an added bonus, use two different color shoelaces.
  • Make it fun.  Learning to tie his shoes can be frustrating for your child.  Fun methods like singing songs, reciting poems and telling stories can help children remember the steps involved.

Remember the big picture.  We know – watching those little hands fumble over and over again can test your patience.  Try to keep in mind that these motions are likely brand new to your child.

The following video may help out too: