Neurodevelopmental Therapy Services: Pediatric Therapy in Houston, Texas

Tips to Teach Shoe Tying

Shoe Tying Tips

Shoe tying is a challenging skill to teach and to learn! Children generally start learning to tie shoes around 5-6 years of age. There are many methods to tie shoes. Listed below are some suggestions for teaching two of the most common methods of shoe tying (the 1-loop method and the 2-loop method). 

General suggestions:

– Begin by initially tying shoes at tabletop level rather than on child’s feet. Kids sometimes think it’s fun to tie their parents’ shoes as well.

– Use 2 different colored laces to practice. You can sew or tie a ½ white and a ½ black lace together and lace them through the shoe, so that the children can easily tell which lace is which when learning to tie.

– Start with long, flat laces (they are easier than rounded laces).

– Practice tying pipe cleaners, ribbon, licorice strings, wiki stix, coat ties, etc. Multisensory learning is helpful!

– If laces become untied because the loop is pulled too much and the end of the lace slides out, tie a knot close to the tip of each lace as an anchor to keep the tip from sliding too far through.

– Try sitting behind child while tying shoes so he/she can see from his/her view how it’s done.

– While the child is learning, try wrapping a rubber band around the 2 loops/bunny ears, to just practice crossing and tucking one loop under the other.

– Video tape yourself/the child tying a shoe slowly, and then let the child watch the video a few times before tying again.

– Take pictures of yourself doing each step so he/she can look at the pictures instead of you telling him/her what to do

– Tie “seat belts” on animals/toys with a long rope or jumprope (the bigger scale sometimes helps children to learn the steps)

 

Here are two methods of shoe tying:

Bunny ear or two-loop tying method: (this method makes it easier to teach the double knot later, because the cues of “cross, tuck, pull” are the same)

  1. Pick up 1 shoelace in each hand.
  2. Cross laces, laying them across the shoe: “Make an X”.
  3. Put upper lace under the crossed laces (from tongue to toe of shoe). Ask the child “Which one is on top? Put it under the tunnel. Pull.” (I often call this shoelace a train. E.g. “Push the train under the tunnel – choo choo!”).
  4. Grasp a lace in each hand and pull tight.
  5. Make one loop/bow with each shoelace – Pinch the middle of each loop with thumb and index finger. Make sure to finish this step before trying to cross the bows.
  6. Cross the loops: “Make an X”.
  7. With left hand, “pinch” the place where the loops cross.
  8. Use right hand to tuck right loop under the crossed laces, through the triangle “tunnel” created with the crossed laces.
  9. Grasp a loop in each hand and pull tight.

*While child is learning, try wrapping rubber bands around the 2 loops/bunny ears, and then the loops stay in loop form and it’s easier to do the “cross” and “tuck” steps.

 

One loop tying method:

  1. Pick up 1 shoelace in each hand.
  2. Cross laces, laying them across the shoe: “Make an X”.
  3. Put upper lace under the crossed laces (from tongue to toe of shoe).Ask the child “Which one is on top? Put it under the tunnel. Pull.” (I often call this shoelace a train. E.g. “Push the train under the tunnel – choo choo!”).
  4. Grasp a lace in each hand and pull tight.
  5. Make one loop/bow on the left side – Pinch the middle of the bow with thumb and index finger.
  6. Wrap the right lace around the bow.
  7. Use thumb to tuck that lace into the “tunnel” you just created, to create another bow.
  8. Grasp a bow in each hand and pull tight.

 

To untie shoes: Ask the child to “pull the tails” (the single laces rather than the loops), then pull out the knot.

 

Written by Kara Syrek, OTR/L, occupational therapist at NTS Therapy in Houston, TX

www.ntstherapy.com

Northwest Houston clinic: 713-466-6872

Katy clinic: 281-392-4221

 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *