Teaching children to tie shoelaces can challenge parents’ patience, which is why many decide to delay that learning and continue to resort to velcro or slip-on shoes.
However, learning to tie the shoelaces is not another step towards child autonomy, it also represents one of the first tasks in which the child will have to combine the movements of fine motor skills with eye-hand coordination. Plus, it’s a great exercise to build independence and self-confidence.
Wait for the right moment
Children follow different lines of development, so everyone is not ready at the same age to learn to tie shoelaces. Most acquire the necessary skills between the ages of 4 and 5, although girls are usually prepared a little earlier. However, each little one is different, so before teaching them to tie their shoelaces, you should make sure that they already have the necessary manual skills. Of course, you must also be willing to learn. Also, you should choose a quiet time, it is not convenient that you try to teach him while you are in a hurry to get to work. You better pick a weekend.
Become your child’s role model
A large part of what children learn is done by imitating adults and, especially, their parents, who are their favorite role models. So if you want your child to learn to tie shoelaces, just become his learning pattern. This means that you should be patient and tie your shoelaces several times, slowly, so that the child imitates your movements. It is convenient that you resort to games and songs, so that you make this learning a fun moment.
Teach him how to use his fingers
Tying the shoelaces is very simple, once you know how to do it and the movements have been automated, but for children it can represent a real challenge. Therefore, it is important that you first show him how to coordinate the movement of his fingers to hold the laces and pass them from one side to the other. It may seem very simple, but remember that children find it difficult to perform that type of movement. It will be enough for you to help him hold the cord and guide him, first placing your hand on his, and then instructing him to do it himself.
Show him the movements to make the loop.
Once the child has learned to maneuver with the laces, it is time to teach him the movements of the loop. First, you must learn to make a crisscross X, with the ends of the string, and to pull hard on both. The second step is to make a bunny ear type out of one end of the cord, while taking the other end and wrapping it around the loop. Then, with your thumb and forefinger, you need to take the string around the loop to pass it between the rabbit’s ear. Once the cord has passed, you must pull both sides, always in opposite directions, until the loop knot is tight.
Let me practice
It is important that you encourage the child to repeat these movements several times, until he is familiar with the procedure. Obviously, you will need to be patient because most children need several reps before they get their first bow. In the same way, you will need to keep practicing, until the movements become automatic.