Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tying Shoes

This is a previous post but, I thought I would give you an update. We still pull this shoe lace board out often. Bug sometimes regresses with her skills. Sometimes she just needs to focus on working on her fine motor skills. This is one of the items that I still use often in helping her at home. She has more control of the board than a shoe. She can also move it to a position that is comfortable for her. Between motor skill delays and arthritis with her it's best for her to get in the best possible position. The reality is that the only time she really wears shoes that lace up is during horse therapy and when its absolutely needed due to weather. She only wants her Crocs and has a lot of sensory issues that go on with tennis shoes. I'm afraid she will lose the skill of tying her own shoes again. We had to retrain her a few times with this task as she wasn't using the skill. Bug is now 12. We started this endeavor of tying shoes starting at age 6.

Learning to tie shoelaces is a complicated task for any child. For my Bug, it has been an extremely hard task for her to accomplish. It has been an ongoing task for several years.  years. Honestly, I was at the point of being content with her just putting on shoes with Velcro straps. Bug's occupational therapist has also worked with her over the years with it. Bug has fine motor and gross motor skills that are extremely delayed. 

SHE DID IT! She tied her shoes yesterday. She came running to me after her occupational therapy session. She was hollering and has happy as can be. She sat down on the floor and said, "look Mommy what I can do by all by myself now!" She tied her own shoelaces. Everyone in the waiting room clapped for her and rejoiced with her accomplishment. She has showed everyone with much excitement.

This year I had Grandpa make me a little gadget to work with the kids at home. It has been very helpful with them learning the concept or should I say the art  of tying your own shoelaces.

All it consist of is a  piece of scrap wood 2x4 cut around a foot with two holes drilled into it. I then bought some shoelaces at the dollar store. Make sure you use two different colors.

Are you wondering why the two different colors on the laces? It helps them to see the differences in each step they are taking. They can see that the black and white have different functions. It is much easier to explain shoe tying if laces are different colors. Instead of saying “the right one” or “the one in that hand” you can say, “put the white one over the black one.” Different colored laces can make any shoe-tying technique easier. This is also a good time to help with the left and right. I would say, "black lace which, is your right hand" and so on.

We would put these in our workboxes once or twice a week. The lesson would go like this:

First of all I would do it in steps, I would make sure that the first step is mastered before you go onto the next step. Just step one took awhile to get across for my Bug. You don't realize how much work as just crossing the shoe lace underneath one another on the first step if you have any motor skill delays. We who don't have delays take the small things for granted.

1. Place the untied board on the table. Take a lace in each hand and demonstrate crossing the laces into an "X." Instruct them to insert one lace through the bottom of the "X" and pull both laces tight.

I won't go into all the step because there is all different kinds of methods. You will have to find which one works for your child.  I think I have tried them all. In the end it was the traditional method that worked for her. I thought it would be the two bunny ears loops! Here is a great website for teaching your kids that I found helpful.

I hope this simple gadget works for you. You should be able to find all these items around your home. Make sure that the laces are not shredded at the end as it will be easier if they are new. You can also put tape or a bit of glue on the end to keep it together if you are using old shoe laces. For me it was a matter of sensory issues, texture, and being a distraction for Bug. Also, when they do start tying their own shoes having not to deal with shredded laces will be much easier for our special kiddos who need a bit of help. How many times have you fought with trying to lace old shoe laces that are shredded. Trying to get those pesky shoe laces in the holes can be a pain at times. I prefer to avoid a major melt down with Bug and to build up her confidence by not having shredded laces.

Blessings to you all. What have you tried with your kiddos to teach them to tie shoes?

I am also joining a link up with all of our therapies being canceled to help me at home to be accountable to work with her more at home. Stop by, As He Leads in Joy blog and see what other mom's are doing with therapy at home.


  1. when jacob was little Id make up a story, and use the shoe strings as BUNNY Ears LOL
    You make 2 loops which are bunny ears,you have one bunny jump over other and through a cave lol

    LOL Thats how he learned

  2. Congratulations on Bug's accomplishment! I know how hard she has worked to learn to tie her shoes. I have an 18 year old son who tried for years. We had to come up with an alternative for him. I linked here from Therapy Thursday.

  3. Thank you for linking up. It was also a reminder that I need to work on tying shoes -- at this time all her shoes are velcro.

  4. Shoe-tying is still a bit of a challenge for my youngest. He can do it; it just takes him awhile. He prefers (generic) Crocs. :)


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