Teach your child to tie shoe laces
By Alex Brooks |
Tying shoe laces

Learning to tie your own shoe laces is a tricky fine motor skill for children, but with patience and practice parents can teach their child to tie their own laces.

Velcro school shoes may make parenting easier, but they also threaten to destroy a childhood rite of passage - learning to tie your own shoe laces. Tying your own shoe laces requires a level of dexterity most kids don't possess until they're between five and seven, so take it slow.

Teach them how to tie shoe laces by practicing on a shoe with soft laces. It helps to actually colour in one half of the lace with a marker to make it a different colour and allow you child to distinguish between the two sides of the lace.

Sit side by side so you have exactly the same perspective and can help your child mimic your actions. Hold an untied shoe between your upper legs or knees. The shoe should be facing away from you so that it is in the position that your own shoe would be in if you bent to tie it.

Instruct your child to hold one end of the shoestring in each hand. Everything you tell them to do, you should also do so that they can copy you.

Cross the laces so that they form an "X" in the air. Wrap the bottom lace of the X over and through the top lace of the X. When it is pulled tight, this will form the base of the shoelace bow.

The easy bunny ears method of tying laces

Two bunny ears help the child tie a square knot, one of the easiest knots to learn. Try teaching this:

  • Fold each end of the lace into a single "bunny ear." You can hold the "ears" in place between your thumb and pointer finger on each hand.
  • Cross the bunny ears so that they form an "X" in the air.
  • Loop the bottom bunny ear over and through the top bunny ear. This will create a second knot.
  • Pull the bunny ears out to the side away from the shoe. This will create a square knot that will not easily come undone and will hold the shoe in place.

How to tie a shoe lace the more complicated way

Take one lace in each hand and make an X. Draw the top lace through the bottom of the X and pull the two laces tight. Then make a loop out of each lace. 

Step 2: Cross the bunny ears over each other

Cross one "ear" over the other, in the opposite order of your overhand knot.

Step 3: Run the bunny ears over each other

Explain how "the bunny runs around the tree" by bending one loop over the other.

Step 4: See the bunny jump in a hole

Now "the bunny sees a dog and jumps in the hole": Pass the tip of the bent ear through the hole. 

Step 5: Pull loops tight

For extra security, you can double the knot by making another overhand knot with the loops.

Practise tying laces with your child until he can do it himself. Using a homemade practise board can be helpful. Then have him practise tying knots while wearing the shoes. Before you know it, you can throw out the Velcro shoes and your child will have mastered some fine motor skills that will help in other areas of learning. They might even like to graduate to some funky advanced shoe lace tying techniques!

Make your own shoe lace practice board

 

 

 

Video tutorials on lacing styles

How to lace your shoes criss-cross style

 

 

How to lace your shoes over-under style

 

 

More school shoe articles:

 

More back to school tips and ideas:

 

 

Read more back to school stories about shoes

 

This story was written by Alex Brooks for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading back to school resource.

Connect with Kidspot:
 

101+ cool school ideas

  1. Fundraising ideas
  2. Lunch snacks from scratch
  3. Healthy lunch box recipes they'll eat
  4. Sanity savers
  5. 10 things teachers wish you knew
  6. Celebrity chef lunch box ideas
  7. School book covers
  8. All school supplies
  9. Head lice solutions
  10. 5 ways to keep school kids organised
  11. Tools for back to school
  12. Sandwich-free lunch box ideas
  13. The on time school morning routine
  14. The school shoe checklist
  15. Breakfast and school
  16. How to buy a perfect school bag
  17. Savoury lunch box snacks
  18. Kids' breakfast ideas
  19. 10 tips for buying school shoes
  20. Is your child gifted and talented?
  21. Communicating problems to school
  22. Best school breakfast recipes
  23. Goal setting for the new school year
  24. Homework tips
  25. Preparing for the first day of school
  26. Teach your child to tie shoe laces
  27. Fun spelling games
  28. Making friends at school
  29. The great homework debate
  30. School readiness
  31. Muesli bars and lunch box snacks
  32. Peer pressure at school
  33. 12 tips for a better school year
  34. Vegetarian lunch box ideas
  35. Best breakfast ideas
  36. Care for school shoes so they last
  37. Teasing vs bullying
  38. Cures for school clutter
  39. Healthy lunch box ideas
  40. Breakfast nutrition
  41. Cost of private tuition
  42. Could my child have ADHD?
  43. Organising home life for school
  44. Preparing for school
  45. Lunch box safety
  46. The importance of breakfast
  47. Maths flash cards
  48. Solving school problems
  49. Back to school organisation
  50. When should my child start school
  51. Nutritious lunch boxes
  52. Breakfast and school
  53. Caring for kids feet
  54. Helping your child to make friends at school
  55. Starting high school
  56. Find a sport for your child
  57. Back to school routines
  58. School bullying solutions
  59. Healthy food pyramid
  60. All about school shoes
  61. Tempting fussy eaters
  62. Your child's school teacher
  63. Back to school accessories
  64. Top breakfast ideas
  65. Does my child have feet problems?
  66. Secrets of buying back to school supplies
  67. The 6-point school shoe check
  68. Inspired lunch box ideas
  69. Labels and bag tags
  70. Lacing techniques for school shoes
  71. All breakfast recipes
  72. Tips for packed lunches
  73. School communication
  74. Easy organisation tips
  75. 10 ways to save on back-to-school
  76. Healthy start
  77. School and separation anxiety
  78. Making your own bread for school lunches
  79. 5 tips for buying a school bag
  80. Feeding school-aged children
  81. When independent reading begins
  82. Lunch boxes
  83. Understanding school life
  84. School clutter solutions
  85. 5 tips for buying a school bag
  86. Fibre facts
  87. Is your child ready to start school
  88. Back to school supplies
  89. Best back to school lunch box recipes
  90. Improve your child's school success
  91. 9 tips to help kids prepare for tests
  92. Healthy snack ideas
  93. Saving money on schooling
  94. Tips for fussy eaters
  95. Best school bags
  96. Fitting school shoes
  97. School lunches
  98. School term and holiday calendar
  99. Free printable name and book labels
  100. Top technology for school
  101. School shoe size guide
  102. All about breakfast
  103. Healthy lunchbox ideas
  104. Organising school life
  105. Hungry minds
  106. 10 top lunch box ideas
  107. Learning to read and write

CATCH UP

what's new on kidspot