How to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes Without Bunny Ears

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Tying your shoes is something that most people do almost every day, often without even thinking about it, but with the invention of Velcro shoes some parents are putting off teaching their children how to tie their shoes.  However tying shoes is a necessary lesson that can be taught when a child is young.  If your child can handle a pair of scissors and successfully cut paper then she has the dexterity to tie her own shoes.  Kids should have the ability to tie their shoes between the ages of 3 and 6.

The easiest way to start teaching your child to tie her shoes is to get a couple of adult shoes out to practice on, one for you and one for her.  On her shoe it might make the teaching process easier if you re-lace her shoe with a white lace in which you have taken a marker and colored half of the lace.  That way you can refer to the white lace and to the colored lace instead of trying to explain right and left to her.

If your child’s dominant hand is the same as yours, sit side by side with her to teach her.  If your child has the opposite dominant hand, then sit across from her.  This will ensure that you are not teaching her backwards.

Step 1: Cross the laces and tuck one lace underneath the other lace and pull both laces tight to the shoe.

Step 2: Make a loop out of one of the laces.  While holding that loop tightly in one hand, use the other hand to wrap the straight lace around the loop.  Show her how to tuck the straight lace through the hole beneath the loop that she is holding.  Let go of the loop.

Step 3: Take a loop in each hand and pull tight.  Adjust the loops until they are about the same.

Step 4: Take a loop in each hand and cross them, just like she did at the beginning with the laces.  She will tuck one loop under the other and pull tight.  Now she has double tied her shoes and they shouldn’t come untied.

Step 5: Practice, practice, practice!

Allow your child to practice with you and patiently help her perfect her skills.  This lesson could take as little as 45 minutes or it could take several days, depending on how quickly your child picks up on the technique.  Make the process fun and your child will want to keep practicing.  If you get upset with her then she won’t want to continue practicing because it will no longer be fun.

Once she has mastered tying the big shoe let her practice on her own little shoe.  This will be harder because the laces will be much shorter.  After she has gotten good at tying her shoe with it off her foot, show her how to loosen the laces and put her shoe on and then tighten up the laces and tie her shoe.  She can sit and practice this skill on her own at this point.  Make sure that you lavish her with praise every step of the way.  Soon you will be able to have her put her own shoes on and tie them herself.  This is a huge accomplishment for her and one she should be proud of.

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