How to tie shoe laces for kids: A step-by-step guide

Marie Stambe

Marie Stambe

Marie is an emerging writer who loves all things content creation. From her Italian heritage to her deep-rooted passions (fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and fun), Marie harnesses the power of personal experiences to write stories that are #relatable and easy to digest. Because who has the time?
Updated on Jul 06, 2024 · 7 mins read
How to tie shoe laces for kids: A step-by-step guide

It's easy to forget how many things you need to teach kids from scratch. Whilst there are a lot of things they pick up on the go (being the tiny sponges that they are), there are also a few you'll need to be a bit more 'hands-on' with. For instance, teaching them how to tie their shoe laces.


Breaking down how to do something that you’ve been doing since your own childhood isn’t easy; you almost have to unlearn in order to relearn. It’s kind of like needing to explain breathing – you find yourself wondering, ‘how do you do it?’

To save you the self-reflection and inevitable frustration, this is a step-by-step guide to tying your child’s shoe laces (and teaching them to do it themselves!)

Tying shoe laces is actually a pretty big skill


Besides the obvious practical pros, tying shoe laces also marks an exciting developmental milestone for your child’s motor skills. By getting confident with the foreign motions required to tie laces, kids can demonstrate their dexterity and coordination, laying a foundation for slightly more complex tasks later in life.

It also represents a tangible achievement that boosts their confidence as they realise their capability to accomplish tasks independently. This newfound skill empowers children to take charge of their daily routines, approaching the world with a sense of pride and autonomy.

Because let’s face it – your child isn’t going to be wearing velcro shoes forever, so the art of shoe laces is a skill that they will rely on for most of their life.


Choose your tying method


Very typical for this day and age, there’s no shortage of options for how to tie their shoes. Which means you get to ‘choose your fighter’, or rather, ‘choose your tying method.’

There is the one loop method, ‘better bow’ knot, or ‘double bow’ knot – but these can be a bit tricky for your child’s first good crack at it. The recommended method for shoe laces newbies is the ‘bunny ears’ style. This is the gold standard that we all know and love – it’s simple, intuitive, and breaks the task down into just two loops resembling bunny ears.


Choose your tying method


Very typical for this day and age, there’s no shortage of options for how to tie their shoes. Which means you get to ‘choose your fighter’, or rather, ‘choose your tying method.’

There is the one loop method, ‘better bow’ knot, or ‘double bow’ knot – but these can be a bit tricky for your child’s first good crack at it. The recommended method for shoe laces newbies is the ‘bunny ears’ style. This is the gold standard that we all know and love – it’s simple, intuitive, and breaks the task down into just two loops resembling bunny ears.

Step-by-step instructions for the bunny ears shoe lace tie


Create the first ‘bunny ear’ loop

Create a loop to look like a bunny’s ear and pinch it closed in your child’s fingers.

Use one lace to create the loop, making sure it’s not too tight or too loose.

Make another loop on the other side

Make another loop on the other side without letting go of the first loop.

This step may require one-handed operation, but with practice, kids can master it.

Pull out on both loops to tighten

Pull both loops to tighten the knot, making sure to pull with the same amount of force on both sides.

This step completes the shoe-tying process, but kids can choose to double-knot their shoes for added security.

Cross one loop over and under the other

Cross one loop over and under the other, just like in previous steps.

This step is similar to steps 8-10, but kids may initially not realise it.

Pull it through to create a secure knot

Pull the left lace through the hole to create a secure knot.

Make sure the knot is tight, and the laces are not loose.

Pull out on both the right and left bunny ear to tighten

Pull both loops to tighten the knot, making sure it’s secure and comfortable – you want your laces tight to withstand the daily adventures of a kid.

This step ensures the knot is tight and the shoes are securely fastened.

What age should children learn to tie their laces?


The typical range for learning to tie shoe laces is between the ages of 5 and 7 – but importantly, every kid will be different.

Some might show readiness to learn earlier than age 5, while others might require more time and practice, potentially picking up the skill later than age 7. Factors such as individual motor skills development, exposure to learning opportunities, and personal interest can influence when a child is ready to tackle this skill independently.

And if your child is late to the shoe-tying party, don’t stress, and definitely don’t force it! The best thing you can do as a parent is to support your child’s progress by offering encouragement and opportunities for practice.

What if my kid can't tie their shoe laces?


If your child struggles with tying shoe laces, there are alternative options available.

Velcro, elastic shoelaces, or slip-on designs: Opting for shoes with Velcro closures, elastic shoelaces, or slip-on designs eliminates the need for tying laces altogether. This approach provides convenience and independence for children who are not yet ready for or have difficulty with traditional laces.

Elastic shoelaces and lace bits: Elastic shoelaces feature stretchy material that allows shoes to be slipped on and off without needing to tie or untie laces. Lace bits are small devices that secure the ends of shoelaces, preventing them from coming undone and simplifying the process of tying for children.

Wrapping it up


Whether your little one is working with coloured laces or just boring old white ones, tying shoelaces doesn’t have to be a challenge. Instead, with methods such as the bunny ear technique, your child will develop an essential life skill in a fun, easy, quick way!

FAQs


How can I make shoe lace tying easier for my child?
Besides using popular methods like coloured laces, bunny ears, and elastic shoelaces, there are other practical techniques to make shoelace tying easier for your child. You can create a song while tying up the laces to make it more interactive for them. Using a larger shoe can also be beneficial in terms of your child’s visual memory. Practising with a shoe board allows your little one to practice the moves in a stable place. But the most important of all these methods to make it easier for your kid is patience and practice, practice, practice!

What are some signs that my child is ready to tie their own laces?
There are a few latent and explicit signs that show that your little one is ready to tie their laces. One latent sign is if your child wants to dress themselves. We know it’s hard not to style them how you want them, but kids dressing themselves is a sign of independence. If your kid wants to dress themselves, it also implicitly signals that they’re ready to tie their laces.

Some of the explicit ones are their interest in tying laces independently—in this case, let them figure it out independently and jump in if they need assistance. The other explicit signs are good motor skills and hand-eye coordination to perform precise movements like tying shoelaces.

How long does it typically take for a child to learn this skill?
This question has no perfect answer, as each child has different personalities and learning methods. For some kids, it might take an hour or two weeks, while for some, it may take a month. But what matters is your child’s age, how often they practice, your teaching methods, and most importantly, your patience and encouragement.

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