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Best Way to Teach My Child How to Tie Shoes

The Best Way To Teach My Child How to Tie Their Shoes

Teaching your child to tie their shoes can be a long and frustrating task for parents.  Luckily our occupational therapists break it down into easy steps for caregivers to teach their children.  With a little practice and repetition, your child will be tying their shoes in no time!

Check out these tips and tricks from our occupational therapists on simple and easy ways to teach your children


What is the best way to teach my child how to tie their shoes? Easy…

*Learning step by step on a shoe placed in front of them (tabletop level)

It is easier for children to learn how to tie their shoes on a tabletop level before learning how to tie it on their own foot.

*Having different colored laces (ex. 1 white lace 1 orange lace)

This way, when explaining step by step, it is visually easier on your child to understand the difference in the laces and see each step visually.

**Practice, Practice, Practice!

It takes time! Do not think it will happen overnight. Continue to practice and they will begin to get the hang of it! Don’t give up!

*Use Backwards Chaining Techniques

Chaining is a technique used in ABA (applied behavior analysis) to teach difficult tasks by breaking them down into smaller parts. Backwards chaining occurs when an Adult does each step of the task and allows the kid to do the very LAST step on their own. Essentially: breaking down the steps of a task and teaching them in reverse order. This gives the child an experience of success and completion with every attempt.

Below are the verbal cues we use for each step based on the way some CTC therapists teach the kiddos how to tie shoes! You can substitute your own steps for alternate methods:

  1. Criss Cross
  2. Orange Under White
  3. Pull Tight
  4. Make a loop
  5. Swoop
  6. Push through
  7. Pull tight

The parent would start by tying the shoe but allowing the child to ‘pull tight’ at the end. Over and over, the parent demonstrates the steps of shoe-tying, slowly, describing the procedure. With time, the parent fades back a step at a time, allowing the child to complete the ending steps instead of having to start with an untied shoe and remember what to do. This will allow the child begin to understand each step of the ‘Tying their own shoes’ process, while visually seeing it multiple times and physically being able to complete the task.

Here is a resource to help!

Shoe tying template