How To Teach Kids To Tie Shoes: Tips, Methods & Activities

Written by Harshita Makvana facebook_iconinsta_icon Experience: 7 years
Last Updated on

Five-year-old Fred spent some good 15 minutes trying to tie his shoe. He would fold the strings, cross them, and then not know what to do. After multiple attempts, he succeeded, and the feel of pleasure at his accomplishment was too visible to be missed.

Tying shoes is one of the achievements that kids cherish because it gives them a sense of independence. Tying shoes is not just about the child’s happiness, but their development too.

MomJunction tells you how you can teach your child to tie shoes, and the various methods of shoe-tying (with video tutorials).

Why Should Your Child Learn To Tie Shoes?

While learning to wear their shoes right, your kid is also learning how to follow directions, planning, sequencing, and sorting. Here is what they learn in the process:

  • When you are teaching your child to wear their shoes correctly, they are learning how to listen and follow directions.
  • They understand sequencing. For example, they learn that the sock goes first and then the shoes, after which the strings are tied.
  • As they listen to you talking, they also start to classify and sort objects, such as a summer shoe, a winter shoe, etc.
  • As your child uses their fingers to tie the lace, they are working on their dexterity, which would eventually help them in holding a pen and other things.

Also, it is one job less for you when you are taking your child out. But you need to wait until they attain a certain age when they are able to accomplish the task independently.

When Can Children Learn To Tie Their Shoes?

Most children are able to tie their shoes by the age of six. Here’s how they develop their shoe-wearing skills:

AgeShoe-wearing skills
12 monthsBabies can stick out their legs to put a shoe on them
2 yearsThey can remove low-top shoes
2.5 yearsMost toddlers put on shoes with some help
3.5 yearsThey can put on shoes on the right foot and take them off completely, including untying the laces
6 yearsChildren can tie shoes after seeing a demonstration

Tying shoes is an activity of daily living, commonly known as ADL. Therefore, it is a good idea to practice some fine motor exercises to help your child get a little ahead in the game.

Activities That Strengthen Fine Motor Skills Required For Shoe-tying

Before your child starts to tie their shoelace, they may practice some activities to master bilateral coordination, hand dexterity and finger manipulation, visual motor skills, visual perception, hand strength, and the ability to think, plan and execute a new motor skill.

Here are a few fun exercises and activities for kids:

Pins and rings:

Pins and rings

  • Take a few cloth pins and colored rings.
  • Attach or pinch the pins on the rings by matching the colors.
  • This hand strengthening activity also makes the finger muscles work.
  • Later, this aids a child in holding onto a shoelace longer than they could before.

Threading with beads: (Age 3 and older)

Threading with beads
Image: IStock
  • Threading helps kids ace their fine motor skills as it requires concentration, thinking, and finger movement.
  • Take some beads of different colors.
  • Place some colored pipe cleaners in shades similar to the beads.
  • Let your child choose beads of colors matching that of the pipe cleaner.
  • Let them now thread beads to make strings.

Weaving the cardboard:

Weaving the cardboard
Image: IStock
  • A yarn wrap activity is useful in enhancing a child’s fine motor skills, concentration, and imagination.
  • Start with a piece of cardboard box.
  • Cut heart-shaped pieces out of it. You may try any other shape of your choice.
  • Ask your child to paint the hearts in some color.
  • Once the paint is dry, give your child yarns to thread through the heart.
  • You may hang these hearts in their room.

Once your child is ready to learn how to tie their shoelace, you may begin with some simple methods of shoe-tying.

Easy Shoelace-tying Methods For Kids

Here are some methods you can help your child to practice. Remember, however easy the method may be, practicing is key to success.

1. Beginner’s knot

  • Place the shoes on a flat surface and let the laces fall to the sides of the shoe.
  • Grab both the laces and cross them one over the other. Pull them tightly. They will form a usual knot in the center.
  • Hold both the sides of lace over your fingers.
  • Run your right thumb and index fingers under the lace on one side and left fingers over it on the other side.
  • Grab the opposite sides and pull both sides.

Learn how to tie a beginner’s knot from this tutorial:

2. The bunny ears knot

  • Place the shoes on a flat surface and let the laces fall to the sides of the shoe.
  • Begin by tying a basic knot as described above.
  • Form a bunny ear loop with one of the strings by grabbing one shoelace between your thumb and first two fingers. The loop will be small and the tail or the rear end long.
  • Make another bunny ear loop with the other shoestring.
  • Now, cross the loops one over the other and bring one of it from below.
  • Pull the bunny ear loops tightly and you’re done.

Watch this tutorial for a better understanding:

3.Circle method for tying shoes

  • Place the shoes on a flat surface and let the laces fall to the sides.
  • Start by tying a basic knot.
  • Form one more knot, but keep it loose. Do not tighten this knot and you will see a circle formed by this knot. Hold the shape using your hands and let it lie flat.
  • Put one shoelace inside that circle from the front. Keep the shoe string loose, but it should not slide out of the circle.
  • Put the other shoelace inside the circle from the back. You will be having two loops on each side of the knot.
  • Tightly pull the loops and you are done.

Circle shoe tying method video tutorial:

4. Ian knot technique

  • Place the shoes on a flat surface and let the laces fall to the sides.
  • Begin by tying a basic knot.
  • Grab one of the shoelaces using your right hand thumb and forefinger to form a loop with the loose end on the front.
  • Grab the other shoe string using the thumb and forefinger of your left hand with the loose end on the back.
  • Pass the loose ends through each other’s loop.
  • Pull the strings and tighten them.

Watch this tutorial here:

Tying a shoelace is not rocket science, but some tips will make the task even easier.

Tips To Teach Kids To Tie Shoes

  1. Take an untied shoe and place it between your knees or thighs. This way, your child does not have to bend and check what you are doing.
  1. Sit right beside your child so that both of you have the same perspective. This makes it easier for you to teach your child.
  1. Teach your child how to tie their shoelaces by practicing on a shoe, which has soft laces.
  1. Color one side of the lace using a marker. This will make it easier for your child to distinguish between the two sides of the lace.
  1. Ask your child to hold one end of the shoelace in each hand.
  1. Whatever you ask your child to do, make sure you are doing the same so that they can see and follow you.

Be patient while teaching your child. Nothing is more tempting than going for Velcro straps and making life easier, but for your child, there is no bigger fun than mastering a major skill.

Does your child know how to tie shoelaces? Did you follow any new methods? Share your experience and tips with us, in the comment section below.

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Harshita is a graduate in commerce and holds a PG Diploma in Patent and Copyrights Law from NALSAR University. She has also pursued CA and has more than three years of internship experience in auditing. Her love for travelling has taken her to various parts of the world, and writing the travelogues was what brought out her love for content writing.

Read full bio of Harshita Makvana
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