Learning to tie shoe laces

Emmy Samtani
Emmy Samtani
Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Created on Oct 04, 2023 · 3 mins read

Teaching your child to tie their shoes is a right of passage, but it can also take an exhausting amount of time. Something that seems beyond simple to you is a huge skill to learn for them. Try and remember all the practising you did when you were their age! Once it’s time to put on those big kid shoes, here are a few tips to move along the process.

Show patience

Even though this is as simple as breathing to you now, try to remain as patient as possible. If you’re frustrated, just imagine how frustrated they are. Being exacerbated with them will only cause more stress to their learning. Remember that this is a pretty exciting milestone for them, so keep that in mind on the 100th try.

Break it down slowly

Tying shoelaces requires quite a bit of fine motor skills, so at first, it will not be quick. They will have to understand the proper vocabulary, remember the steps, and have nimble fingers. To make the process easier, slow it down to very simple steps.

Explain it to them in these steps:

  • Pick up your lace with your hand of choice
  • Use your other hand to pick up the other lace in the middle
  • Fold it in half
  • Move the lace around the one folded in half
  • Use your thumb to push the lace underneath the folded lace
  • Pull the folded bit with one hand and the other lace with the other hand

Even typing that out alone, you have to pick up your own shoe and remember exactly how you do it. Tying shoelaces has become so seamless to us, that remembering all the steps isn’t that easy! Either way, you can decide however you wish to explain it to them, but use easy terms and take it slow. Instead of simply saying, “make a loop”, break it down.

Have multiple methods ready

If the bunny rabbit just won’t cut it for them, have a few other ideas at your disposal. Every kid’s way of understanding is different. Check out some creative teaching lessons and try them all out.

Use a pair you don’t mind drawing on

If it’s still not sticking, find a pair you wouldn’t mind using some colour on. Your little one might be far more visual and need some better indicators. Choose two markers with separate colours and draw on each lace (white!) to differentiate them. Tell them, “now take the pink lace under the green one”. Making it more visual could be the perfect way to make it stick.

Continue to be the Example

Children learn through example, so get ready to tie countless laces on your trusty pair of kicks. Take it slow, step by step, and sit side by side. Help them mimic your actions with plenty of encouragement.

Ultimately, every mama will have a different knot or method of teaching the big shoelace exercise. It is a serious rite of passage for them, so when the time comes it will be a big moment of celebration. For now, remain calm and have fun practising with them.

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