Teaching your child to tie their own shoelaces is an exciting time.
Not only will they be working their hand coordination skills and ticking off another important milestone, they'll also be gaining a little independence along the way.
Generally, most kids begin learning how to tie their shoes around the ages of four to six years, but children develop at different rates so try not to push them if they're not ready. Instead, hold off for a couple of weeks, use our handy suggestions below and try again!
Don't forget, every child is different and learns in different ways. Test a few tips until you find an approach that works best for you and them.
Make learning fun
Learning to tie their shoes for the first time doesn't have to be a bore! Make it fun by using poems, stories and animals to help you explain the process. We've listed some classics below:
The "bunny ears" method is one of the most popular ways for teaching kids to tie their own shoes. Tell your child that they're going to make &quears" with their shoelaces.
- First they'll need to tie a knot for the bunny's head.
- Hold up the laces and cross them over to create an 'X".Take one lace through the bottom of the "X" and pull tightly.
- Give the bunny some ears y looping the laces to form "bunny ears".
- Tighten the bunny ears so that they don't fall off. Make another "X" with using the "bunny ears" and take one of the ears under the "X" and pull tightly.
The squirrel and the tree method brings into play a cute story that will help your child learn and remember the order.
- Have your child make the "tree roots" by creating a starter knot.
- Make a tall tree by creating a long loop, which should be held in your child's right hand.
- Using their left hand, have your child hold the lace and tell them that the squirrel runs around the tree and jumps into the hole under the tree comes out the other side.
Please note that as your child will need to switch hands at this stage, they this method a little trickier.
Use coloured laces
Using two different coloured laces for each shoe will help your child work out which lace they need to grab. It's much easier than worrying about left and rights.
Work with a lefty
Sit opposite them and have them mirror you. Your actions should match what they're doing. Alternatively, you could always recruit another lefty to help you teach your little one.
Take it one step at a time
You can make learning easier by breaking the process up into smaller steps. Let your child watch them tie your own shoes. They'll see things from a whole different angle. Once that's done, get them to watch you tie their shoes. You then might like to start off with teaching them the basic starter knot. Don't move onto another step until they have successfully mastered the last.
Mark with a felt tip marker
You can mark important parts on the shoelace that should be held together when making a loop or loops.
Use an oversized shoe cut out
Sometimes it's easier to practice on a bigger model! You can buy an oversized shoe cut-out or make your own by cutting out a giant shoe shape from cardboard. Let your child decorate the shoe however they like. You can poke the holes for the laces with a pen or hole punch. You might like to use coloured laces to make learning easier. Simply lace the shoe and you're ready to teach.
Toys and books
Shoe-tying toys and books are another great way for your child to practice. There are some great ones on the market.
Avoid slip and consider grip
Flat shoelaces are easier for small fingers to hold, the wider and longer the better. Similarly, cotton or natural shoelaces give better grip than slippery synthetic ones and help keep the knots tighter.
Practice, Practice, Practice
As the saying goes, 'practice makes perfect', especially when it comes to tying shoelaces. Try to have your child practice as much as possible. Make sure that their shoelaces are untied whenever they remove their shoes, which will stop them from taking any shortcuts!
Don't leave small children alone with long laces as they might hurt themselves.
Hook tape is great for convenience, but try to avoid this when teaching your child to tie their own shoes for the first time.