Learning to take care of yourself is an important step in every child’s development. With every new year they grow into new stages of independence. They spend less time relying on mom and dad for help, and gain new opportunities to learn healthy habits and valuable life skills. One such important skill for every child to learn is how to tie their own shoes. With today’s busy schedules, it’s important for your kids to master as much of their own routine for getting ready as they can. Learning to tie their shoes will help your child be able to make sure their feet are safely strapped in and ready for play. To help you teach your child this basic, yet valuable skill, we’ve compiled a list of tips for how to teach a child how to tie their shoes.
When mastering new skills, your little learner might move at a slower pace that you may like. To tiny fingers, maneuvering tiny laces can be challenging. To keep things moving in a positive direction, it’s important for parents to remain calm when teaching and remember to give direction in a gentle manner. Be mindful of your tone, attitude, and try not to get frustrated or easily agitated if your child stumbles or needs to go over things a few times. Always remember as parents, it’s our job to encourage our children to reach their full potential in every area of life and losing our cool doesn’t produce the results we truly want.
Strengthen Fine Motor Skills
There are many activities that kids can do to help build up their fine motor skills and help them have better hand eye coordination. Stringing beads onto string while making a necklace, using tweezers to pick up cotton balls off of the floor (these Learning Resources Jumbo Tweezers are my fave!), or linking paper clips together are all ways that kids can develop their manual dexterity. Just be careful to keep small, easily swallowed pieces away from young children! We’ve rounded up 18 great DIY activities to develop fine motor skills HERE, and really love these activities, crafts, and games:
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Stringing Beads
Learning Resources Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set
Melissa & Doug Scissor Skills Activity Book
Learning Resources Mini Muffin Match Up
Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Activity Set
Yoovi Early Learning Basic Life Skills Learn to Dress Boards
And let’s not forget about actual shoe-tying practice boards! There are SO MANY to choose from these days. You can make your own like THIS ONE by Coffee Cups and Crayons, and we love our One Two Tie my Shoe board by ALEX Toys!
Make It Fun
A great way to get kids involved in any activity is to make it into a game or a fun activity. Kids love to have fun and turning shoe tying into a game is a great way to take the stress out of things. Try using imagery, describing the laces as a bunny or floppy puppy dog ears. Tell a story of how the bunny has to go into the hole to hide from the big bad wolf, only to tie him up at the end, or how the two friends (laces) are hugging because they love each other. For older children, make it into a challenge. Once they get the basics down, challenge them to try to get their shoes tied in less than a minute or see if they can do it with their eyes closed. Many times, children will naturally resist instruction if learning feels like too much of a chore. Keep your kids engaged by keeping the mood light, singing a silly song, or coming up with a clever rhyme.
Find The Right Technique
Figuring out how to teach a child how to tie their shoes is no easy task, and once your little one has his fine motor skills down, you need to find a shoe-tying technique that works for him. You’ve probably heard of the ‘bunny ear’ concept, and while it has been successful for many kids, I recently found a YouTube clip by the UnstoppableMother that blew me away. It really is the EASIEST way to tie shoes!
Remember: Practice Makes Perfect
The only way for anyone to master any skill is to practice as much as possible. Have your child spend a few minutes practicing tying their own shoes, a family member’s shoes, or any type of bow you can find around the house. There are many different and fun tools you can make for your child to practice on. By learning on another object, it takes the pressure off, and makes kids less nervous when it comes time to tie their actual shoes.
One final trick to help you figure out how to teach a child how to tie their shoes is to personalize the experience. Encourage your child to pick out a pair of shoes or shoelaces they like and feel special about. Allowing them to have some say in things can make learning to tie their shoes feel more like a fun part of growing up and less like a chore.
Learning to tie your shoes is an important rite of passage for any youngster growing up. Like any skill, it’s one that can be mastered with practice, perseverance, and the guidance of loving parents.
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