Occupational Therapy News: Shoelace Tying!

Tying your shoelaces is such a tricky skill to master in the early years.  Many skills are required including the use of a pincer grip, hand and finger strength, eye-hand coordination, motor planning, intrinsic in-hand manipulation, memory, bilateral integration, crossing the mid-line and so many more.

What is important to remember is that expecting children to tie their shoelaces before they have developed these fine motor skills is like driving a car before you get a licence. But we understand when we are trying to get a drivers licence that we have to practice driving with an experienced driver and build up our hours on the road, so likewise practice at tying our shoelaces is extremely important.

Breaking down the steps to tying your shoelaces can help, along with some key verbal cues and visual cues. Below is a visual step by step guide that helps to explain the steps in a systematic way.

Another good tip is to not practice shoelace tying when you or your child are time pressured! Practice it when you are not in a hurry (i.e. not rushing out the door for school!). You can do it before bed or on the weekend and try it with different shoes – both on and off the feet!

Lots of encouragement for trying hard will help, along with the intrinsic reward that they have mastered a tricky skill of tying their shoelaces!

To view a printable PDF of this guide, please click here