Teachers and Parents Pet Peeve

5380558What is one thing teachers and parents both hate? Shoe laces. 

Teachers hate having to say 20 times per day “Sally, your shoelace is undone”; “Josh, stop and fix your shoelace”. Parents equally loathe shoelaces. How many times can you tie a shoelace before your child leaves the house? How do kids laces always get in a knot?

One of the challenges that parents come to OT with is: How do I teach my child to tie their own laces? Velcro is a wonderful invention indeed. However, there comes an age where Velcro is no longer cool, nor practical. We all need to learn at some point.

So how do you teach them to tie their laces? This little invention, the Melissa & Doug Lacing Shoe is going to be a great place to start. It’s fun. It’s colourful. And it’s not their shoe, making it ten times more exciting.

My hot tips:

  • Get two different coloured shoe laces to help make it easier to see that one goes over and one under the other. (Tie them together and have the join sitting at the toe end of the shoe)
  • Break it down into achievable steps. Teach them just the initial knot first (lay one over the top of the other making an X, tuck the top one under the bottom one) (or better, e.g. lay the blue one over the red one making an X and then tuck the blue one under the red).
  • Once they have mastered this, choose the tying method you are going to use and stick to it. Are you using the bunny ears technique or the tree method? Don’t show them multiple ways, it’s too confusing.
  • Always make sure the shoe is pointing in the right direction (to help with the transfer of skills to their real shoes once they master it on the toy one).


Hyperbole hands can learn to tie shoelaces too – it might just take a bit longer to get the hang of it.
Check out the YouTube clips below. The first is my favourite for method for teaching shoelaces (The tree method). The second clip shows the bunny ears method.

Let us know about your success & challenges. Leave a comment.



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