My son still couldn’t tie his shoe as he entered 2nd grade, despite our best and most patient efforts.
Here’s the trick of how we finally taught him to tie his own shoes and how you can get your child to do it, too!
Last month I was at a party for families. One of the moms was talking about how her son still can’t tie his shoes. Oh, I have a solution, I told her.
As I was describing the steps, she said to me, “You should write a post!”
And so, this tutorial on how to tie a shoe step by step is for her (you know who you are!) as well as all the other moms struggling to help their kiddos to learn this skill. This post contains affiliate links.
How To Tie a Shoe Step By Step
My son Vman has always had poor fine motor skills. Working with scissors, grasping a pencil, zipping up his jacket — all of these activities take some considerable concentration from him to achieve thanks to his Sensory Processing Disorder.
It’s not that we haven’t worked with him on his fine motor but it’s just not what his body wants to do.
So you can imagine how difficult it was for my son to learn how to tie his own shoes. For years, I’ve bought Geox shoes. One — they breathe and anyone with boys knows how unbelievably stinky their feet can get. Two, they have velro straps so Vman didn’t have to tie his shoes.
Learn my trick for getting rid of shoe odor! It’s a fabulous way to naturally get rid of those smelly shoes without throwing them out, and it works.
We had tried on multiple occasions to help Vman learn how to tie a shoe when he was in 1st grade. I thought back to when my dad taught me.
I can still picture myself sitting in my room in an old blue armchair with my dad at my feet showing me how to tie the laces. I wasn’t an expert at the beginning by any means, but I was able to accomplish tying my shoes. Vman…. not so much.
When Would My Child Learn How to Tie a Shoe?
I had heard stories of kids teaching others on the playground. Wouldn’t that be a dream?!? But alas, that’s not how it worked in our case.
At some point, I said to my husband – perhaps we should just wait a year.
Then a year passed. And we were right where we started.
The only difference was I had an opportunity to try some kid shoes that had laces. Vman really wanted those shoes. But I had no intention of going back to putting on someone’s shoes like I had when my boys were toddlers. No thank you!
Thankfully, being so involved in the sensory community has its privileges. I reached out to some pediatric occupational therapists I know online for pointers on how to get Vman to tie his shoes.
How to Tie Shoes for Kids with Fine Motor Difficulties
There are a number of ways you can teach a child to tie their shoes.
“Wait, what?” you’re asking me.
Oh yes! You can teach them how to make the bunny ears to tie their shoes. Or you can teach them to make the one loop, wrap the second lace around and threw and pull (which I’m guessing is how most of us currently tie our shoes).
But there’s another way — one that saves your kids from having to have mad fine motor skills.
- Cross over the laces and pull tight.
- Then do another cross over, but this time don’t pull it tight like a knot. Leave a loop in the middle.
- Take one end of a lace and thread it through partway through the open loop. Do the same with the other lace.
- Then pull the other edge of the rounded lace to close the loop. The shoe will be tied!
See my tutorial below on how to tie a shoe step by step below!
It is possible for your kiddo to tie their own shoe! It will take some practice, but because they don’t have to manipulate the laces as much as the traditional way of tying a shoe, it’s much easier to accomplish.
Be patient! Your kiddo will get it!
If your child is too young to tie their shoes or still need additional help, consider the following no-tie solutions: