By age 5, your child is probably ready to tie that shoe.
You probably remember learning how to tie your shoelaces when you were about 5 years old, but fewer kids today seem to be mastering the skill at that age. It's not because our kiddies are less smart than we were -- chances are, it's because most kids' shoes no longer have laces. Nevertheless, you don't want to be tying your grown son's shoes before he walks down the aisle. With a little practice and lots of patience, you can help your preschooler get this skill all tied up.
1Prepare a rectangular sheet of cardboard about 12 inches by 8 inches. The lid of a shoe box works nicely.
2Draw a dot with a pencil 2 inches up from the short end of the cardboard and 3 inches in from the long edge. Using the ruler, draw a line parallel to the short end of the cardboard, from the first dot to a spot 2 inches away. Draw a second dot there.
3Draw a third dot 2 inches directly above your first dot, and draw the fourth dot 2 inches above the second dot. Repeat this process to add two more pairs of dots until you have a total of eight dots, or four pairs of dots.
4Use the pointed end of a pair of scissors to punch holes through the cardboard at the eight drawn dots.
5Take a pair of dark brown or black laces and cut each lace in half. Tie a knot in the cut ends of the laces. Thread one cut piece of lace through one of the holes on the right-hand side of the cardboard so the knot is secured on the underside of the cardboard.
6Pull the remaining three pieces of lacing through the remaining three holes on the right side of the cardboard until all four lace pieces are pulled through.
7Repeat steps five and six with a pair of white or light-colored laces to complete four holes on the left-hand side of the board.
8Place the practice board in front of your child. Tell him to take the dark-colored lace from the bottom right hole on the board in his right hand and the lighter-colored one from the bottom left hole in his left hand. Have him form a base knot by crossing the dark lace over the light one and pushing the end of the dark lace under the crossed laces. Have him hold the ends of each lace and pull tightly to secure the knot.
9Tell him to form a loop in the lighter-colored lace that's now on the right-hand side of the board by pinching the middle of the lace between the thumb and pointy finger on his right hand and pulling upward.
10Tell your child to hold the loop in his right hand and use his left hand to form a second loop with the darker-colored lace on the left. Have him hold this loop in his left hand.
11Tell him to form an "X" by crossing the right-hand loop (the light-colored lace) over the left-hand loop (the dark-colored lace). Have him tuck the light-colored loop under the crossed loops, using his right pointy finger. Have him pull the ends of the loops up to tighten the knot formed by these loops.
12Have your little one practice tying the remaining 3 pairs of laces on the board. Stop him and demonstrate while he watches you, if he has difficulty following your verbal instructions.
13Have your child attempt to tie his own shoes after a few successful attempts on the practice board. At first he might be confused by having just one color to work with, but after a few attempts, with your encouragement, he'll most likely catch on.
- Put your hands over his little ones to guide him on his first attempt, if he is unable to succeed on his own.
- Don't force your kiddie to continue practicing when he becomes frustrated or disinterested. Learning won't happen unless you child is enthusiastic and determined.
Things You'll Need
- Piece of cardboard
- Scissors with pointed end
- Two pairs of shoelaces in contrasting colors
- Lace-up shoes
- Creating a Practice Board