Teaching How to Tie a Shoe: Step-by-Step Guide for Parents

teaching how to tie a shoe
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As part of a child’s life, small actions have a big part in their development. Teaching them how to tie a shoe is certainly one of those!

Although it’s a big step because it teaches them independence, it can be a bit stressful to parents. So here’s a breakdown of what learning to tie a shoe really means.

Before practicing the shoe tying

Take a look at how you, as a parent, participate and influence the whole process. Disclaimer: it takes more than simply teaching step by step!

Be patient

It’s important that the child feels safe and that their eventual mistakes won’t be criticized. You don’t want to create any unnecessary feeling of stress for your child, so be tolerant if they take some time to learn.

Acknowledge what it means

The moment a child is learning how to tie a shoe means they’re growing and slowly becoming less dependent on Mom and Dad.

Tying their own shoe means:

  • They have more understanding of their motor skills;
  • They can be responsible for keeping their shoes tied because they’ll feel the consequences (i.e. falling during playtime) if they’re not.

So take each improvement when learning to tie their show as a chance to celebrate their accomplishments!

Your encouragement matters

Learning how to tie a shoe is something that takes a while. Some kids get it faster, others take a little while.

If your child makes a mistake or struggles with a specific session of it, take this as an opportunity to encourage them to go on and give it another try.

Keeping a positive posture in face of anything your child struggles with is a bonding opportunity. And will help your child know they can trust in you in their hardest times.

Tips on teaching to how to tie a shoe

Shoes off before shoe tying

Don’t start with the shoe on the foot! Put it on a table (after securing it, of course) or another structure so that the child has a better view of it.

Differentiating laces

You can get them with different colors, or even with accessories at each end. This will help the child differentiate each laces and know what to do with them – specially when it’s time to cross them.

Make it entertaining

Use resources such as telling the laces to look like bunny ears. Children will get it easier if they can recognize a familiar shape of what they should be accomplishing.

Practice on something larger

Feeling inspired for some DIY? Create your own shoe lacing box using an old shoe box or cardboard. 

If you’re short on time, practice using an adult’s shoe because the Little One will have an easier time practicing the shoe lacing with larger laces.

Focus on a single method

Before exploring new ways to tie a shoe, master one specifically. Once the child has confidence tying their shoe using that process, you can introduce new ways to do it!

Step by step: teaching how to tie a shoe

Show time!

1) Creating the knot

Hold the shoe with the laces facing up. Create a simple X with the laces by crossing one over the other. 

Pull both laces to their sides (pull the one in your right hand to the right, and do the same with the left) until they are tight and create a knot at the top of the shoe. Pull tight to secure it, but be careful not to pull to a point where it’s uncomfortable.

2) Creating the first bunny ear

With one lace, make a loop that resembles a bunny ear. Use your index and thumb to pinch the base of the loop to hold its shape.

3) The bunny hole

Take the other lace and wrap it around the bunny ear you just created. You’ll see that there will be a gap created: this is called the “bunny hole”.

4) Creating the second bunny ear

Push the loose end of the wrapped lace under the hole between the bunny ear and the shoe. You’ll get a second bunny ear!

5) Pulled and tied!

Finally, hold both bunny ears and pull them gently in opposite directions, similar to what you did in step 1.

You can add a double knot to make the shoe tie extra safe.

To complement your efforts, see two different methods of shoe tying: using the bunny hole, and also the double bunny ear

Activities to enhance shoe tying abilities

Here are a few activities that are not related to shoe tying, but will help your child build motor skills. They’ll be lacing their shoes in no time!

  • Playing play-doh or putty;
  • Painting or drawing;
  • Playing with stickers;
  • Solving mazes;
  • Cutting (using non-sharpened scissors) and gluing.

Teaching how to tie a shoe is a sign that your child is growing and developing. We want to celebrate this step and offer all the support they need!

Still on the topic of improvement and accomplishments, we advise you to have a look at what STEAM education means and how it can have a positive impact in your Little One’s life!

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