By: Ashley Akers, M.S. OTR/L
As an occupational therapist who works daily on increasing independence in daily living skills such as dressing, tying shoelaces is a common activity that parents find difficult for their children to learn and master. That makes total sense because tying shoelaces is a complex skill! Tying shoelaces requires fine motor dexterity, bilateral coordination, visual perceptual skills, and hand strength among many other skills.
Below are some activities that can serve as good practice before your child begins learning how to tie their shoes, as these activities incorporate the skills tying shoes requires:
1. Ripping paper/cards for increased hand strength
2. Navigating through obstacle courses which helps to understand directionality concepts such as under, over, around, and through
3. Lacing games, constructional toys, and paper weaving
General tips to make tying shoes as easy as possible:
1. Start by practicing with the shoe or practice board on the table. It is more difficult to complete when the shoe is on.
2. Use two different colored laces.
3. Make sure the laces are long enough and use thicker laces.
4. Put dots on the laces to show your child where to hold the lace.
More information and activity ideas can be found at the link below to address the underlying skills required to master tying shoes!