#1. Patience. It takes patience to teach someone little how to tie their shoes. It takes patience for that little someone to learn how to tie shoes. Take your time. Stay calm. Relax.
Chose a time of day that best suits practicing a new skill (read: don’t teach how to tie a shoe right before bedtime when the kids are tired and you are…well…um…tired too).
And yes, kids should learn how to tie shoe laces sometime during the school years. However, don’t pressure kids into learning it because of school. Further, don’t put kids down because they are in school and cannot tie their own shoe laces. Embarrassment, punishment or any negativity will not help your kids tie their shoe laces any faster. Kids learn on different timelines. And just because an older sibling picks up this skill quickly doesn’t mean jr. will pick it up just as fast. Be patient and positive.
#2 Positive. Make learning to tie shoes a positive and fun together time. Support your child with motivational phrases like “that’s it!” “good job” “keep going”. Create a shoe lace activity (more on this below), repeat a rhyme or sing a song. Make it fun and you create a positive learning experience.
#3 Repetition. Skills are mastered by repetition (take eating from a spoon for example – we aren’t born with the ability to lift a spoon to our mouths – we learn this). Practice makes perfect. So tie today, tie tomorrow…
#4. Create a shoe lace activity. Here are some ideas:
The most basic and traditional of shoe lace tying tips: Make two bunny ears, then one bunny goes around the tree and into the hole.
(Note: there are many bunny songs, rhymes and stories to help teach shoe how to tie shoes…a quick internet search will connect you to these)
Do what I do
Parent sits next to child. Parent makes a loop with the right lace and the child models this. Parent makes loop with the left lace and child models this. Parent makes an X with the laces and child models this. Parent slips one loop under the other and pulls tight and child models this.
(NOTE: if your child is left handed have them sit across from you. Lefties mirror what you do when they are across from you).
Use different coloured laces (sparkly, neon, flashy, striped, whatever!) to help kids keep track of their laces and loops.
Cut a shoe shape out of cardboard. Punch holes. Thread laces through and encourage child to practice tying bow.
You could also punch holes in the tops of plastic lids of coffee canisters and have child practice tying bow.
As said before, invite child to tie your grown-up big shoe as practice.
Don’t let teaching shoe tying turn you into knots. Stick to these tips to unravel the mystery about mastering laces!