Education, Useful tools
How to Teach Your Kids to Tie Their Shoes
04 May, 2022
Knowing how to tie shoelaces is a deceptively important life skill, teaching not only independence, but also coordination, memory, sequencing and even confidence. Here, we explain how to teach kids to tie shoes and share the top tips to help your child on their way to shoe-tying success.
Learning how to tie their own shoes is an important step in your child’s independence. Not only does it help them dress themselves at home, but it also helps them feel more independent (and confident) at school.
When we teach kids how to tie shoes, we also help them improve their visual memory, build sequencing skills, sharpen their motor planning and even lengthen their attention span.
Of course, teaching your child to tie their shoes isn’t always an easy task (in fact, it rarely is!). Children can get easily frustrated when they’re learning a new skill, especially one that is as complicated as tying their shoelaces.
Luckily, with these tried and tested tips, your child will be tying their own shoes in no time.
What Age Should You Teach Your Kids to Tie Their Shoes?
As is the case with just about every developmental milestone, there is no specific age that your child should be tying their shoes by. In saying that, you can start introducing them to the skills they’ll need to master to tie their shoes – like fine motor skills, memory skills, and sequencing skills – from a very young age. Activities like building with blocks and drawing following instructions are great for this.
Typically, most children are ready to tie their own shoes at around five or six years old. Don’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t seem ready by that age, though – their developmental skills are a much more reliable benchmark.
Watch how they are progressing in areas like hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and using both hands for activities. You’ll soon work out when you can start teaching them to tie their shoes. If your child seems to be struggling, their pediatrician can provide activities to help them improve these skills.
Of course, it is convenient if your child can tie their shoes before they start school but don’t feel the need to pressure them into advancing faster than they are naturally able to. They’ll get there eventually! These activities are a huge help…
The Bunny-Ears Technique
This shoe tying technique has been around for ages, and for good reason – it’s seriously effective for teaching children to tie their shoes! Here’s how to do it…
- Step One: Holding the right end of the lace in your right hand and the left in your left hand, cross the right lace in front of the left one.
- Step Two: Take the end of the right lace and loop it over the top of the left lace, wrapping it back underneath and pulling it towards you.
- Step Three: Hold the ends of both laces and pull tight, pulling the twist closer to the shoe.
- Step Four: Take both laces and make a loop in each (like two bunny ears!). Make sure they each have a long tail.
- Step Five: Cross the middle of the left bunny ear over the middle of the right bunny ear.
- Step Six: Take the top of the right bunny ear and put it over the left bunny ear, then poke it through the hole.
- Step Seven: Put your fingers inside the ends of the bunny ears, hold on and pull tight so that the loops create a knot. And voila!
Shoelace Tying Tips
While the bunny-ears technique is a favourite, it won’t work for every child. Sometimes, you’ll need to recruit other methods. Here are a few to keep in mind…
- Using songs: Songs are an effective way to teach so many skills, tying shoes included! Trust Cocomelon to have a great shoe-tying song for your children to practice with – check it out right here.
- Using poems: Much like using a song, a rhyme can be a great way for your child to remember the steps needed to tie their shoes. This one helps you remember the bunny trick:
‘Bunny ears, Bunny ears, playing by a tree.
Criss-crossed the tree, trying to catch me.
Bunny ears, Bunny ears, jumped into the hole,
Popped out the other side beautiful and bold.’
- Using shoelace boards: While your child can certainly practice tying laces on a real shoe, having a board like this one is a great travel-friendly (and hygienic) option.
- Coloured laces: Using a shoelace that is half coloured will help your child tell which end is which.
How can Edge Early Learning Help?
At Edge Early Learning, we employ an inquiry-based approach. Children are encouraged to ask questions, explore new ideas, and learn through play. Our educators start by posing questions or scenarios to trigger curiosity and encourage children to investigate their findings.
This type of dynamic learning is particularly beneficial in developing problem solving and communication skills and is well suited to teaching skills like how to tie their shoes. Click here to find out more about our approach.