Teach Your Child to Tie Shoelaces

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”!ย  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.ย  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!ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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?



  1. 3

    clothespin says

    Love this. I plan on using a board and gluing/knotting the lace to it so that the lace doesnt dissapear.. great idea!

  2. 6

    melanie Ketcham says

    I love this shoe tying idea. I work with special needs kids so this will be perfect for them. Thanks!

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    Really cool idea! It reminds me of the packaging of these new shoelaces I invented called Synch Bands (pronounced “cinch”). I have 2 boys (11 and 7) that both figured out how to tie their shoelaces but for whatever reason, every time I picked them up at school their laces were untied, dragging on the ground, and totally ruined…..uggh I finally had enough and came up with a way for them to have safe, snug, secure shoes that didn’t require any tying and looked so cool in their Chucks and Vans that no one even noticed they were wearing elastic shoelaces. Their teachers and coaches can’t stop telling everyone about them! Check ’em out and let me know what you think ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Dee says

    My son I can up with this verse:
    Peter Rabbit (2 loops) sees the X (cross them) runs through the hole and is saves his ears from Farmer Mc Greggor again ๐Ÿ™‚

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    I’m going to share this cute idea with teachers! What do kindergarten and first grade teachers do all day when it’s back to school time? Tie shoes! (I know, been there done that.) This is great for a learning center! The kids can even memorize and read the little poem. going to share, pin and tweet this one.

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    Cassandra Coats says

    I work with autistic students, and one goal I’m working on with one kiddo is shoe tying. He has a book with a shoe tying board, but I think the verse will help! I’m going to try it!

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    Kay says

    Thank you, Chrissy, my son should really be too old for this (he is 12), but we have always avoided laces up to now as he has hypermobility and coordination difficulties and even tying a knot has been a bit beyond him until now. I am going to have a go using your design – you have thought of everything. I especially like your idea of colouring one half of the lace a different colour. Even though he is 12, I think he will like the verse because he will need it!

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