Learning how to tie your own shoelaces can be a long and frustrating process. With this in mind, prepare for a few little “moments” along the way, and give your child plenty of opportunities and unpressured time to build up their dexterity and speed.
1. Make sure that your child is old enough.
Although it is best to teach your child as early as possible (preferably well before they need to wear tie-up shoes for school or PE), be guided by their willingness to learn and ability to cope with the fiddlyness of it all. Most are aged between three and five years when they’re ready to learn.
2. Find a knot that your child likes
Try the easy bunny-ears method of tying laces:
- 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.
3. Test your child
If you feel your child is at the stage where they can tie their shoes by themselves, try to see if they can do it without your guidance. A great idea is to take them to the park to run around and once they are ready to leave, calmly explain to them you are going to pack up and can they please try to put on their shoes by themselves. This will give them the opportunity to tie the laces by themselves without it seeming like it’s a test. Often children will succeed in doing this, but if not, that’s okay: Explain to them they gave it an awesome try, but Mummy will help them.
4. Once they’ve understood the main idea of tying their laces, turn it into a challenge.
Some children may respond well to this tactic. By challenging your child to work hard to learn the skill of tying their laces, you can motivate them with rewards to help contribute to their success.
5. Don’t shy away from laces.
It may take some children longer than others to figure out how to tie their shoelaces, so allow them the time to master the skill without jumping back into velcro. It’s important they stick with it and continue to hone their dexterity and speed. Try looking on Pinterest for ideas to help your children learn without any pressure, like making this awesome lace board that they can have on their lap at any time, and play around at their own pace.