How To Teach A Kid To Tie Shoelaces

Is it time for your little one to learn to tie their shoes? Check out this handy guide on how to teach a kid to tie shoelaces.

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Much like potty training a child, teaching them to tie their shoes can be frustrating. For both you and your child. While Velcro straps and “no-tie” laces sure do make things easier for all of us, tying shoes is like a right of passage for a child. Just like learning to use the potty, or finally balancing on their bike without training wheels. So, where do you start when it comes to teaching them? Here is how to teach a kid to tie shoelaces.

Make A Practice Board

If you are just beginning to teach your child how to tie their shoelaces, this is a great idea. All you need is:

  • A large piece of cardboard.
  • A shoe to trace the outline
  • Shoelaces – white in color, if possible.
  • An item to punch holes with

It is so easy to make a practice board! All you need to do is to take the cardboard and shoe, and trace the outline of the shoe onto the cardboard. Next, you have to mark where the shoelace holes are. After that, you use an item you have on hand to punch out the shoelace holes. Then, you lace up the shoelaces through the holes you have poked. Make sure that you choose nice and soft laces. These are easier for children to hold. Now, you have a practice board that your child can practice with!  

Practice Fine Motor Skills

Children have to be developmentally ready to tie their shoelaces. Thus, they need to have good fine motor skills. If you can, practice with other objects that helps to develop them. Some other items that can help foster fine motor skills include:

  • Holding a pencil and drawing.
  • Using chopsticks
  • Puzzles
  • Nuts and bolts
  • Threading with beads

These can help your child develop the motor skills needed to learn to tie their shoelaces.

Teach Them A Rhyme

Children can learn new things easier if they have an acronym or a rhyme to remember it. Take for example, this rhyme:

Bunny ears, Bunny ears, playing by a tree.

Criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me.

Bunny ears, Bunny ears, jumped into the hole,

Popped out the other side beautiful and bold.

Learning a rhyme such as this one may help them to remember how to tie their shoes, once they have done it a few times.

Teach Them The Bunny Ears Knot

Have your child sit in front of you before you begin. This way they can see from your perspective how it is done. Then you can start showing them by doing the following:

  1. Make sure the shoes are on a flat surface. Allow the laces to fall to the sides of the shoe.
  2. Show your child how to tie a basic knot.
  3. Make a bunny ear by taking one of the laces between your thumb and first two fingers.
  4. The loop will be a small one, with the rear of the string long.
  5. Take the other shoelace and make another bunny ear.
  6. Cross the loops, one over the other one, and bring one of them up from below.
  7. Take both bunny ear loops and pull tightly.
  8. That’s it! That is all it takes to tie a shoelace!

Take Time To Practice Each Day

Tying your shoelaces is a skill that can be mastered over time for children. If possible, take time out of each day and sit with your child. Practice will help ease them towards this major accomplishment for them. If they begin to feel frustrated by the task, simply take a break for a few days. Then, come back to it after those few days have passed.

Perseverance Is Key

Don’t let them give up on trying to learn to tie their shoelaces. Keep encouraging them! Make sure that they know you are proud of them and the steps that they are taking to learn this major milestone. There is no doubt that they will be so proud of themselves when they finally master tying their shoelaces! Plus, it will make it easier on mom and dad when it is time to get ready to go out. No more taking time out to tie their shoes before heading out, because they are big kids now!

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Jennifer Corter
Jennifer Corter is a twenty-something stay-at-home mother, writer, and self-published author. She's the founder of Positivity in Pain, a community of over 84,000 people who have come together to fight chronic illness with humor. She also writes for her personal blog, Corter Moon, and is a self-taught jewellery artisan.