Teach Your Child to Tie Shoelaces

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I’ve been feeling a bit like a slacker mom since hearing my 6 year old tell me that her friends have been tying her shoelaces at school. We attempted some practice before the school year started, but it just wasn’t clicking for her. A quick search on teaching children to tie their laces brought me to two excellent resources: this shoe-tying practice board from Salsa Pie (via PBS Parents), and some great tips from Teach Mama.

I loved the ease of flat cardboard to practice on, and I knew that having different colored laces would really help my kids to see which lace they were working with. I also wanted to find a simple verse to help them remember what to do next.

There are quite a few here, and the one that I chose was short and not overly complicated (each line of the verse is a new step). But, even though it’s short and simple, I knew the chances of me remembering it while I was trying to teach them were pretty slim, so I went ahead and wrote the verse right on the box next to the “shoes”!  And, since one lace had plenty of length for lacing and tying, I simply colored half of the lace with a black Sharpie.

My 6 year old was clearly ready this time.  We sat side by side, and I showed her step-by-step how to follow the verse to remember each step and SHE GOT IT!  I couldn’t believe how quickly she picked up on it this time!

My 4 year old (who turns 5 next week!) had a little bit of a harder time with “putting the arrow through the bow,” but she’s a tenacious little girl and I have no doubt she’ll get it down within a few days of practicing. 🙂

All of the elements of this shoe-tying board were important to make the activity as successful as it could be: e.g. having two shoes together so I could demonstrate along side my child, including the verse on the board so that my kids (and I) could refer to it if we forgot what comes next, and having two-toned laces to help differentiate which lace we’re working on during each step. Also, I found flip-flops to be much easier to trace than sneakers since they’re completely flat.

If you’re looking for some help teaching your child to tie his or her laces, I hope these tips and trick help you as much as they did me!

Have you already taught your children to tie their laces? What worked for you?


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