SKILLS FOR SCHOOL- tying shoe laces.
Skills for School – Tying Shoelaces
Many children will often be learning to tie their shoelaces in the first few years of primary school. It is an important skill to have as it encourages the child’s independence in self care. However shoelace tying can be tricky as it involves fine motor skills, bilateral hand coordination, visual perceptual skills and hand eye coordination. Below are a few tips for children who are developing this skill:
1. Create shoelace practice boards.
Shoelace practice boards are great for learning because they provide a stable and easy to manipulate surface. These boards can easily be made by punching holes into a piece of cardboard - children can also get involved by decorating them any way they like! These boards can also be purchased in places like Kmart. Start by using the board on a table top.
2. Progress onto real shoes.
After a child has learnt to tie shoelaces on a board they can progress to practicing on real shoes. This is slightly more difficult as the laces are no longer on a flat surface or as visible. Again, start with real shoes on a table top, then progress to practicing on the lap and finally while wearing them on feet. The last step is the most challenging as it requires a child to maintain their balance and bend down while simultaneously completing the skill.
3. Teach an alternative shoe lace tying method. The videos below are examples of alternative shoe lace tying methods that can be taught. Sometimes it can be difficult for a child to learn the traditional “bunny ears” method as they are required to do different things in each hand (holding a loop while manipulating the other lace). It can be helpful to use the “tuck” strategy where loops are made by tucking the end of the shoelace into the lace holes. Some of these alternative methods are also easier to memorise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HItBb3izpck
4. Use different coloured laces
Using different colours for the lace on the right and left can help children to more easily differentiate between the two sides. It can be difficult to interpret instructions such as “cross the right lace over the left” and much easier to say “pick up the white lace and put it over the blue”. Once a child has mastered tying coloured laces they can then progress to laces of the same colour.
5. Allow time to practice.
Like with all skills, children will often need more time to tie their shoelaces when they are first starting. It can be helpful for families to set aside a more relaxed time in the routine to allow children to practice. For example if mornings are too rushed, the afternoon time may be more ideal. Even 5 minutes of practice a day makes a big difference!