Learning to Tie a Shoelace

Most children struggle to learn to tie their shoes. It can become a big deal when parents are trying to rush out the door and their kids are still sitting on the floor waiting for mom or dad to come help. Here is a great method to help kids practice!

  • Start with a cardboard egg carton.
  • Make the holes for the laces.
  • Grab a set of shoe laces.  Using two different colors is best for new shoe tying friends.  Tie the laces together at one end and thread them through the holes of the egg carton.  Start lacing the holes the whole way up the egg carton.  Threading the holes is an excellent fine motor task for kids. Threading the laces encourages bilateral hand coordination which is vital for shoe tying.
  • Now it’s time to start the actual tying of the laces! (Everyone has their own method, so we will leave that up to you!)
  • Practice with the shoe in your child’s lap, not on their foot.  Once they master shoe tying (or at least start to get the hang of it), then practice with their shoe on their foot.  It will then take more practice with the shoe on their foot because when they are wearing the shoe, the laces shorten a bit.
  • If you’ve been practicing shoe tying for some time and your child is just having too much difficulty, it might be other underlying reasons.  To tie shoes, kids need fine motor skills, bilateral hand coordination, visual perceptual skills, hand-eye coordination, and hand strength just to get the task of shoe tying done. If you feel your child has a difficulty in one of these areas, contact your pediatrician for a referral to an Occupational Therapist for individual evaluation and treatment.
  • Remember to avoid using the words “right” and “left” unless your child has a good grasp of these words.  You can instead use the colors of the laces, if using two different colored laces, OR use “the lace on this side” or the “hand you write with”.