With all the different fasteners available on kids’ shoes these days, like Velcro or zippers, shoes with laces can seem like they’re more trouble than they’re worth. However, learning to tie shoelaces is a childhood rite of passage. It’s an important life skill that your child will have to master eventually, also opening up a much greater variety of shoe options as they grow up. It’s a safety matter too — the sooner your child is able to tie their own shoes without assistance, the less likely they are to trip over untied laces!
If you’ve been putting off teaching your child how to tie their shoes, fearing frustration on both your part and your child’s, here are a few quick methods you can follow to make the process as painless as possible.
How to teach kids to tie shoes? The four shoe tying methods
Thankfully, there are four different ways to teach shoe tying to youngsters, each of which should only take your kid a few minutes to grasp: the bunny ears method, the Ian knot, the Cheerio method, and the shoelace practice board. Don’t fret if your child doesn’t catch on to the very first method you try. The best thing about having multiple shoe tying techniques at your disposal is that if one doesn’t work for your child, you can simply move on to the next.
Teach Child to Tie Shoes with the Bunny ears method
The classic bunny ears method is probably the most widely known approach to teaching young children how to tie their shoes, and has been passed down for generations. However, it requires nimble fingers and a good memory for following multiple steps, so it might not be the best method for the youngest learners. Make two “bunny ear” loops with each shoelace, side by side, then cross the bunny ears so they form an “X”. Loop the bottom bunny ear over and then through the top bunny ear. Finally, pull both of the bunny ears out and away from both sides of the shoe.
If you feel the need for speed, you and your child can both learn The Ian knot together, a lightning-fast lace tying technique invented by Ian Fieggen, otherwise known as “Professor Shoelace”. Each hand grabs a lace, and one of them has the loose end dangling in front of their fingers and the other has the loose end behind. Feed the shoelaces through the loop of the other one at the same time, and pull them tight. This shoe tying method is so quick that it looks like a magic trick, and so impressive that you might even want to start using it yourself!
How to Tie Shoes with the Cheerio method
The Cheerio method is an easy way to tie shoes for kids who have a hard time holding their laces steady. First, stick the plastic ends of each lace right back into the holes they are coming out of, making two big circles (like big Cheerios). Pick up these two large loops you’ve just made, and tie them into a double knot. Finally, remove the plastic ends of the laces from the holes, and voila — your shoes are tied!
Shoelace practice board
Who needs shoes, anyway? A shoelace practice board is as great a way as any to teach a child to tie shoes, and, with a bit of craftiness, you can make one right at home with basic materials you already have in the house. Your child can practice lacing the “shoe” from top to bottom and can try out different ways of tying shoelaces at their own pace. A shoelace practice board is also a great way for kids to work on their fine motor skills, and it’s fun too!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I teach my kid to tie their shoes?
Start by trying any one of the four methods listed above. If one method doesn’t click with your child, simply move on to the next. It’s all about trial and error.
What is the easiest way to tie shoelaces?
That depends on a variety of factors, like the age of your child and their ability level. The method that seems easiest to one child might not be so easy for the next. Be patient, and remember the old saying: nothing worth doing is ever easy!
Why do so many kids struggle with tying their shoes?
Kids find it hard to remember step-by-step instructions, and they might not have the coordination or motor skills required to tie laces. This can easily lead to frustration. However, practice makes perfect, and they’ll be very proud when it pays off. Tying shoes properly and wearing shoes of the right size are important so that shoes fit snuggly and kids don’t trip.
What are the best shoelaces to teach shoelace tying?
The shoelaces you choose should be soft and easy to hold. Light colored or two-tone laces can provide contrast, allowing your child to easily figure out which shoelace is which. You can also use a pen to mark the laces, indicating where they should be held.