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Shoelace tying techniques – teach your child to tie shoelaces

A young child learning to tie shoelacesThere are so many shoelace tying techniques out there that it can be difficult to find the one that is easiest to teach. Thankfully, they all come with different stories to aid in your child’s learning process.

Knowing the individual steps to any technique is important, as once we have been tying shoes for so many years it is hard to pinpoint the separate steps while you’re tying the laces.

Whichever technique you go with, make sure that every person who may help to teach your child sticks to the same thing to stop any confusion when they changes teachers. The two simplest methods are the ‘one loop’ or ‘two loop’ techniques.

Both techniques begin with the starter knot:

  1. Pull each lace out to the side of the shoe so they are straight.
  2. Take both laces and hold them out across each other in an X shape.
  3. Take the back lace and fold it over so it ends up down the middle in the triangle created by the X.
  4. Pull this hanging lace through the triangle and hold it back up next to the other lace.
  5. Pull both laces to the sides, tightening the knot.

‘One Loop’ Technique

  1. From the starter knot, take one lace and make a loop.
  2. Pinch the loop where the two parts of the lace cross. There should be some of the lace left dangling after the pinch. The pinch itself should be close to the shoe.
  3. Take the unlooped lace and pull it all the way around the pinched loop until it meets itself again.
  4. Now push the middle of the unlooped lace through the hole you’ve created between the looped and unlooped laces.
  5. Pull the lace you just pushed through the hole, careful not to pull the entire lace through.
  6. At the same time, pull the looped lace in the opposite direction, tightening the knot. It should now have two loops and two straight bits of the laces poking out, like a bow.

A story to help explain this method is a sword fight: two swords clash (the starter X), one dodges, ducks under, and stands up again (the starter knot), he then pulls out a club (the loop), and the other one runs around to get away and ducks underneath his legs (lace through the hole), and pulls out his own club: the fight is a draw (end bow).

Here is a video to help demonstrate:

‘Two Loop’ Technique

  1. Make the same kind of loop from the other method, but do it to both laces this time.
  2. Keeping them pinched, cross the loops like in the starter knot, creating a hole in between them.
  3. Bend the back loop over to the front so the tip ends up near the hole.
  4. Push the tip of the bent loop through the hole.
  5. Pull the tip through the hole, while pulling the other loop in the opposite direction at the same time, tightening the knot. Again, it should have two loops and two straight bits of the laces poking out, like a bow.

A story you can use for this method is the cold bunny: first you make the bunny’s head (the starter knot), then two big ears (the loops), but the bunny is cold so he wraps one big ear around him and hugs it tight (loop around and through the hole), then he’s warm (pull into end bow).

Here is a video to help demonstrate:

Tips to make teaching easy

  • For little fingers, tying laces on their normal shoes can be difficult to start off with. It is best to try it out on a bigger model, such as a cardboard or wooden toy shoe with big laces.
  • The best laces to use are wide and flat, so your child can handle the laces easily. This type of lace also stays tied better – the skinny, round laces tend to come untied quicker than flat and wide ones. Using bi-coloured laces will help them differentiate between the laces when they need to remember which lace does what.
  • Before your kids start actively learning to tie shoelaces, sit behind them when you tie their shoes for them. This will get them looking at what you are doing and they will have some sort of idea of what to do for when you do start teaching them.
  • When you start, sit down beside your child and demonstrate a few times, explaining each step as you go. Then get them to copy your actions as you do it together. If you have a different dominant hand to your child, sit opposite them instead so they are still copying the right technique.
  • Make sure that each step is perfect before you move on. If that means doing the first part twenty times, sobeit. If they fully understand what has come before, the next step will be easier.
  • Praise is a big part of teaching anything, so keep up the kind words and make learning to tie shoelaces an easy and quick procedure. Most importantly, find what technique suits you and your child best, and stick to it.

Tying shoelaces is a big part of going to school or going back to school, so it’s important that your kids learn how. Remember to stick to whatever technique you choose, as changing can be confusing unless they are having major difficulties. Praise and perseverance are the best helpers in teaching you children to tie their shoes.

Find more info on buying school shoes, and download a handy shoe size comparison chart here!


Image credit: lightkeeper/ 123RF Stock Photo
Video credit: Lots To Learn
Video credit: Kidz Skillz

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