close up of girl tying shoelace

Shoelaces are best learned using a forward chaining method i.e. your child learns the first step first. It is helpful to master the first step before moving onto the next. This technique is useful as you are in effect teaching a series of knots and so your hands don’t have to perform as many different moves.

Activities on how to make this easier

  • Ensure your child is well supported with their back against something
  • Practice using thicker laces as thinner ones tend to come undone more easily
  • Initially practice with the shoe on their lap facing away from them in the same way that they would be tying them if they were wearing them
  • Once practicing this while wearing the shoe it may be of benefit to have their foot resting on a little chair or stool so they can see what they are doing
  • There are templates you can buy which your child can practice tying laces on

Activities to help prepare for tying laces

There are different activities you can encourage your child to participate in that will help them get ready for tying laces

  • Ripping paper/card – to increase hand strength needed when tightening the lace
  • Paper weaving and sewing games – can help your child to understand how the lace goes behind and is posted through
  • Tying bows with ribbon, as this is less likely to slip
  • Dressing dolls give good practice opportunities
  • Threading beads onto a string

Associated Services

Children’s Occupational Therapy Service icon

Children’s Occupational Therapy Service

Service Contact