I’ve been stalling and dreading trying to teach my oldest son – now 6 – how to tie his shoes. Stalling is easy because of the magic of Velcro, of course, but with a child in the 95th percentile in height, I knew we would reach the point of outgrowing Velco shoes soon enough.
I’ve gotten by on tying Wade’s cleats during sports – I’m always available on the sideline as needed – and I can cross my fingers that his Sunday School shoes will stay tied for an hour or so. But the actually teaching him to tie his own shoes task was staring me right between the eyes on our last trip to the shoe store. Supply chain issues forced us to buy tennis shoes with laces. He loves them and so do I. All I had to do was to teach him how to tie them.
I tried showing him two ways: 1) the two loops and tie them together method and 2) the classic make one loop and then wrap around the other lace around it and pull through. He was eager to try, but easily discouraged. “Both are too hard,” he said. I left him with his new shoes to practice with and shelved it for a couple of days to regroup. That’s when I got the GREATEST trick from a professional educator!
My son was just evaluated by a speech therapist. I was in her waiting room tying his shoes, and as she watched on, I asked if she happened to have any tricks for teaching a child to tie shoes. (Teachers of all kinds are the BEST resources.) To my pleasant surprise, she immediately said yes and told me about this video.
I’ll share it with you below, but the gist of it is this: it’s the two-loop and tie-together method, but it’s made easy because you tuck each end of the laces into one of those extra holes at the top of the shoe. That way the child, who is still developing those fine motor skills, gets ready-made loops to work with. The child can tie the loops together twice to get a double knot. Voila. It was the easiest thing. I’m not kidding when I say Wade got it on the FIRST try. Talk about a confidence booster. I showed him the video, and he did it for himself. He went to show Daddy his fine work. All in a matter of minutes in the midst of our busy morning routine. If only parenting were this simple, right? I’m so grateful for this easy-way-out though.
I’m sure as Wade gets older and more confident, and his hands get that much stronger, he’ll be trying the loop-and-around method. But until then, we’ve got it covered! And now I’ve got the confidence – and the magic power (smile) – to teach my 4-year-old twin sons how to tie shoes long before their sixth birthday.