How To Tie Shoelaces

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Teaching your child how to tie shoelaces requires much more than just sitting down with a pair of lace-up shoes!

If you came across this page because you were looking for help, then you have probably already experienced the frustration of your child just not “getting it”!

Sometimes kids struggle with the underlying skills that can affect how easily they learn to tie their laces. So, instead of working with shoes and laces, they may first need help to develop the skills needed. On this page I will point out which areas may need some help.

The Different Skills Needed For Tying Shoelaces:

1) Bilateral Coordination Skills

If your child finds it hard to get both hands to work together, then tying shoelaces can be very challenging.

Struggling with any of the following tasks may be an additional clue that your child is struggling with bilateral coordination:

tying shoelaces requires bilateral coordination skillsBilateral coordination skills are needed
  • battles to use a knife and fork
  • struggles to do buttons
  • ”forgets” to hold the paper down while drawing with the other hand
  • awkward scissor cutting skills (struggles to manipulate the paper while cutting out with scissors)

Try some bilateral coordination activities with your child to help boost this skill. Or get my printable bilateral activities resource book!

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2) Fine Motor Skills

If your child tends to avoid pencil-and-paper tasks, and struggles with other fine motor tasks such as scissor cutting and crafts, then perhaps it would be good to work on fine motor skills first.

Try some of my free, fun hand exercises and finger exercises to encourage your child to strengthen hand and finger muscles.

fine motor skills like scissor cutting, can help with other skills, tooDoes your child avoid cutting with scissors?

If you want all my fine motor activities in an accessible format, then check out my Fine Motor Activities resource e-book!

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3) Hand-Eye Coordination

Catching a ball, cutting on a line, and making neat handwriting patterns are all skills that require hand-eye coordination.

Tying shoe laces is no exception, as the eyes need to guide the hands in tying the laces.

If you think your child needs to work on this skill, then try my free hand-eye coordination activities.

your child needs eye-hand coordination skills to tie shoelacesHand-eye coordination skills are needed

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4) Visual Perception

If your brain is not making sense of what your eyes are seeing, then you may struggle to see which lace is which, when they are overlapping and going around each other.

You could work on figure-ground perception, or any of the other visual perceptual skills if you think your child is struggling with this.

Dual colored laces like these ones from Easy Tie#Ad  are absolutely brilliant for helping kids who struggle to understand how to tie shoelaces when the laces seem to merge into each other.

Each side of the lace is a different color, making it easy to see which loop is where.

try dual colored laces to help kids tie their shoelacesTry dual colored laces

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5) Tactile Perception

Basically, this is your child’s ability to know what the fingers are doing without being able to see what they are doing.

When tying laces, there is a lot of “feeling” going on – your child needs to feel where and how the laces overlap, and “pull through” without really being able to see the fingers properly.

Your child needs good tactile perception skills to tie shoelacesTactile perception skills are needed

Try some fun tactile perception activities with your child to help boost this skill.

Easy Tie#Ad also have some textured shoelaces that can help children who have real difficulty in this area. The laces are stiffer than normal, which make them easier to work with, and their textured shoelaces can also help kids who are visually impaired. See my photos of their laces in action!

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Can Special Laces Help Your Child Learn How To Tie Shoelaces?

Here are some pics of how the stiffer, dual-colored shoelaces from Easy Tie#Ad worked for my daughter who was struggling to work with the floppy white laces in her shoes:

The stiffer laces make great "bunny ears", and were much easier for my daughter to handle than the floppy laces that came with her shoes.

stiffer laces may help your child learn to tie shoelacesStiffer Laces Help

With dual-colored laces, she was quickly able to see how to push one lace under another.

She had previously struggled with this concept.

dual color shoelaces are helpfulDual Colors Help

The finished, tied, shoelaces. She was so proud!

We received some laces free in return for an honest review - I am impressed with them!

It is possible for kids to learn to tie shoelaces with some help!Voila!

If you are interested, head over to Easy Tie's Amazon store#Ad to view their laces and video for yourself.

Once you have helped your child with some of the underlying skills that may be weak, hop on over to Ian’s Shoelace Site  if you want photographed step by step instructions on the different methods of learning how to tie shoelaces. There are a lot of different ways to tie shoelaces, and your child may enjoy knowing a shoelace knot that no-one else does!

I have written this from an occupational therapy perspective to try and help you understand WHY your child may be struggling to learn how to tie shoelaces, and why they may not yet be ready to tie shoelaces if some of their other skills are weak.

If you are at all concerned about your child's overall development, please see a health professional or make an appointment with your local pediatric occupational therapist for an assessment. This page is not intended to diagnose or treat your child!

skills that kids need in order to learn to tie shoelaces

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