Shoe Tying Tips
Guest Authored By Kristian S, MS, OTR/L
Teaching your child to tie their shoes can seem like a daunting task! While it may seem easy for adults, there are several skills and steps your child has to learn before mastering the task. Fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, visual-motor integration, sequencing, and attention are all skills required for successful shoe-tying. Typically, children learn to tie their shoes between the ages of 6-7 years old. Use the tips and videos below to help your child master this essential skill!
1. Practice, practice, practice!
The more opportunities your child has to practice each day, the more successful they are going to be. Try setting aside a time to practice tying shoes when you are not in a rush. Also, consider incorporating it during play so your child has several opportunities throughout the day to develop their skills.
- Use different color pipe cleaners. The stiffness of the pipe cleaner will allow your child more time to complete each step without the laces falling apart. This can also be a fun craft!
- Memory Ties. Created by an Occupational Therapist, this tool allows for laces to stay in place to help support your child during the early stages of learning the steps.
- Use a shoe-tying toy or book. Examples include: Lacing Sneakers, I Can Tie My Own Shoelaces, and One Two Tie My Shoe.
2. Use videos to help support learning.
There are several great “How To” videos for your child to watch that introduce songs or tips to make shoe-tying easier.
- Magic Molly
- “I Can Tie My Shoe” song
- Create your own video with your child. They will love watching themselves go through the different steps.
3. Create a song to help your child learn the steps.
It can be challenging for children to remember all of the steps. Try creating a song or using rhyming words to help them remember.
4. Be patient. Practice one step at a time!
Your child will not learn this skill overnight so be patient! There are several steps and components that go into tying your shoes. Break down the tasks into multiple steps. Have your child do one step at a time and you can complete the remainder. Slowly add in more steps for your child to complete until they are independently tying their shoes.
5. Try different laces.
Some laces are easier to grasp and manipulate than others. Consider if your child’s laces are too short, floppy, or difficult to manipulate. Laces that are stiffer may be easier for your child to grasp.
- Try different color laces. Different colors will visually support your child when completing more complex steps, including crossing the laces or pulling them through.
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