Is there a right time to teach kids how to tie shoelaces?
Learning to tie shoelaces can be a daunting experience for kids. It’s one of those simple tasks as adults we take for granted, but those cute little fingers just can’t get a grip on it. Some kids will pick it up quickly, but most struggle and it can affect their confidence if they don’t get it right in the first few attempts.
As a parent, you want your kids to be independent and able to face the challenges of the world. But we also need to be mindful of their developing confidence and personality. Just like the education system is structured to learning capabilities, so should tasks like tying shoelaces. If you teach your child when they are ready, you will have much more chance of succeeding and having a super proud little person on your hands!
When is the right time to teach your kids to tie their own shoelaces is and more importantly, how do you go about it?
You may not realise it, but a lot of coordination goes into tying shoelaces. Especially for the first few times you do it. It’s not a natural motion and relies heavily on hand and eye coordination. If your child is struggling with their early coordination and motor skills, then they may struggle with tying shoelaces.
The best time to start teaching your child how to tie their own shoelaces is when their coordination and motor skills are developed. Meaning, when your child can confidently use scissors, or write their name or catch a ball – these are all coordination and motor development skills. Being able to do these activities indicates their motor skills are developed and most probably developed enough to tackle the shoelace challenge.
If your child is struggling with their coordination or isn’t old enough to do activities like cut paper and build airplane models, then they are probably not ready to try tying shoelaces. By waiting until they are ready, you’re enabling their confidence rather than depleting it.
If you are ready to try shoelace tying training, then we have a few tips that will help you get the “Look Mum, I did it!” result in no time!
Our tips for teaching kids to tie their own shoelaces:
Make it fun
Try to keep it to 3 or 4 steps at the most.
Use thicker shoelaces initially as they are easier for little hands to hold
Use a larger size shoe for practice
Create a little story or easy to remember steps like referring to the 2 loops as “bunny ears”. It helps kids to remember and brings an interest factor into the task.
Tie knots in the shoelaces close to the ends as it will stop the shoelace from being pulled all the way through when tying the bow.
Try using two tone shoelaces, two tone with one colour on each side will help your child to see where each side is at and better judge the loops and knots.
You know your child best and you know their capabilities. There is always the peer pressure to keep up with the “age” milestones, but kids develop in their own time. Wearing velcro shoes for an extra few months isn’t going to hurt.