Teach Your Child How to Tie Their Shoes

Teach Your Child How to Tie Their Shoes

Last update: 15 April, 2018

Here are a few tips to help teach your child how to tie their shoes in a fun way, which is an important step towards their autonomy.

Many mothers, teachers and babysitters wonder how to teach a child how to tie their shoes.

They themselves tie their shoes every day, however, transmitting the technique isn’t so easy.

Most children lack the coordination to effectively tie their own shoes until they reach the age of 5 or 6.

By the age of 5 or 6, their motor skills are developed enough to allow them to remember the multi-step process.

As a mother, it’s ideal for you to have your own way of teaching them how to tie their shoelaces. You can use the same method that was taught to you.

But keep in mind that although you might want to apply the same method you learned with your child, sometimes it may not be effective for them.

“Education is about helping a child bring their skills to reality”
Erich Fromm

Teaching your child how to tie their shoes

If you haven’t found the right way to teach your child how to tie their shoes, here are a few techniques that can be useful.

1. Teach them to move their fingers

Several factors contribute to the difficulties that children have in learning how to tie their shoelaces.

Firstly, tying shoelaces requires both refined finger dexterity and the coordination of their movements.

We recommend that you show your child how to move their fingers before teaching them how to tie their laces.

Show them how to make the movements; the way the lace is held and how it is passed from one side to another.

In order to do this, your child has to put their little fingers in the shape of a lobster claw (thumb and forefinger) to securely hold the laces. Keep the rest of their fingers away from the process so they don’t interfere.

You can help them hold the lace at first and then guide their hands with you so they can see how it’s done.

Teach Your Child How to Tie Their Shoes

2. Use colored laces

Another tip is to use different colored laces so your child will be able to easily distinguish the right lace from the left when the two are intertwined.

If you don’t have colored laces at your disposal, you can use a marker to color one lace. The use of colors helps many children understand and memorize the multi-step process.

Once you place the colored laces on the shoes, put the shoes on the child’s feet. Then, stand next to them and show them the gestures slowly on one of the shoes so they can compare their own procedure with yours.

You’ll have to repeat the process over and over again until they understand how it’s done.

3. The rabbit ear technique

This is probably one of the easiest and most fun techniques when it comes to teaching a child how to tie their shoe laces.

In order to perform it, you should tie the laces in a way for the child to imagine that you’re making bunny ears.

To make the ears, try to use different colored laces. Start with a knot, then fold each loop on itself to make the bunny ears.

It’s important that you show the child how to hold the knot between the thumb and forefinger in order to make another knot with rabbit ears.

Finally, teach the child how to balance the size of the rabbit ears by pulling one end of the lace or the other.

Teach Your Child How to Tie Their Shoes

4. The cardboard technique

You can also use this craft to facilitate learning together.

This last tip consists of making a cardboard template in the shape of a shoe so the child can try to tie their laces over and over again. This way they can practice making knots and loops.

Don’t worry, making the cardboard shoe is easy. All you have to do is draw a shoe on a piece of cardboard using a marker.

Make holes with a marker and then use a hole punch. Once the cardboard shoe is ready, it’s time to introduce the laces step by step as if you were doing it on real shoes.

Keep in mind that repetition is important, it’s a fundamental process in a child’s learning.

Sometimes children have a hard time learning and parents find it difficult to find effective ways to teach them.

In order to help your child learn, you must be patient. Most children need to repeat the process several times before they become familiar with the procedure, making it automatic.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Equipo Susaeta. (2015). Aprende a atarte los cordones. Susaeta.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.