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How to Teach Kids to Tie Shoes | Best Kid-Tested Methods

How to Teach Kids to Tie Shoes

As an adult, there a lot of tasks that we do every day that you probably take for granted. You don't think twice about doing them -- you just do it. One of these tasks is learning how to tie shoes. Learning and teaching to ties shoes can, admittedly, be a difficult job. Not only do you have to learn multiple steps (which need to be communicated clearly), but the person who is learning the task must have a mastery of fine motor skills.

Try some of these kid-tested methods to help little ones learn

There are a few different methods to teach a preschooler how to tie shoes. Whichever you choose, keep these tips in mind:

  • Most children aren't ready to learn how to tie shoes until they are about five years old.
  • Patience is your friend!
  • Learning to tie shoes requires three important skills: listening (following directions), remembering, and doing. If your preschooler starts to balk or gets frustrated, consider taking a break and trying again at another time.
  • In the beginning, consider using two different color laces to keep everything straight.
  • There are plenty of shoe tying teaching aids -- toys with laces that your child can practice on. But really, all you need is a pair of shoes with laces. For beginners, the bigger the laces the better, so have him start on your shoes.

Ready to start? Lets get tying!

How to Teach Kids to Tie Shoes: Video

Learning to tie shoes is a visual process. But if you are having trouble explaining or are not sure how to phrase things properly, try watching this video about learning to ties shoes from parenting expert Kathy Moore. Watch together with your preschooler as she goes through each step. The first time just watch. Once you've seen the whole thing through once, then break out a pair of your preschooler's shoes and try following along.

Traditional Method

  1. Take a lace in each hand and cross one over the other to make an "X."
  2. Take the lace that is in the left hand and cross it under the "X." Pull tight. You should still have an "X" resting on top of the shoe.
  1. Make a loop with the lace that is in the right hand. Loop the lace that is in the left hand around the loop that is in the right hand. As you are meeting the two laces together (at the bottom of the loop) pull the left lace through the circle you have just made. You should have two tight loops.

Bunny Ears Method

A very common method for little kids to start tying shoes with is to make "bunny ears." It is somewhat similar to the traditional method above but a little easier. Here's how:

  1. Start off by telling your preschooler that her shoe is a bunny rabbit who is missing its ears. It's her job to help the bunny find those ears.
  2. Take a lace in each hand and cross one over the other to make an "X."
  3. Take the lace that is in the left hand and cross it under the "X." Pull tight. You should still have an "X" resting on top of the shoe.
  4. To make the actual bunny ears, make a loop with each lace. Repeat the steps above with ake another "X" using the loops. Pull tight.
  5. If you made the bunny ears correctly, your preschooler should be able to hop away with laces that are nice and tight!

The Squirrel and the Tree Method

Another method that uses a story to help kids understand how the process works. It does require the person who is doing the tying to switch hands, so it can be confusing.

  1. Help your child plant the tree by making a knot with both laces.
  2. To make the tree grow, make a loop with the lace in the right hand.
  3. The left lace is the squirrel. The squirrel loves to run around and under the tree. Make the squirrel (left lace) run around the tree (the right loop) once. Then have the squirrel run under the tree and come out the other side.

The Lobster Claw Method

This video demonstrates how to tie shoes in seconds. It might seem overwhelming at first, but when you watch the slowed down version, you can see how it works. When you watch with your preschooler, you may even learn a thing or two too!

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