Teaching a child to tie shoes

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Think you are stuck with Velcro forever?

I know Velcro isn't a big deal when they are little...  it's easy enough to find Velcro shoes at reasonable prices.  When your kid starts to get a little older, it starts getting harder.  Maybe you've tried teaching your kids before, and it has ended in screams and tears (yours and theirs).  Before you give up trying, let me first share with you more about what worked for us.

Are they developmentally ready? 

You may have just tried teaching them too young.  Perhaps because you taught your other kids at the same age, or because they are "supposed" to know how by a certain age.  Many kids with ASD and ADHD have issues with fine motor skills.  Try taking an honest inventory of where they are in that respect.  Their birthdate doesn't matter as much when learning to tie shoes as their ability to manipulate skillfully with their fingers. 

If they aren't physically ready to master the shoe tie, they are going to get overwhelmed quickly with anxiety.  Keep pushing too hard, and they won't want to keep trying.  Both of my sons learned to tie their shoes at age 7.  It's not kindergarten, but it's not too shabby though either!  If you try to teach your kids, keep it low pressure!  If they are starting to get flustered, congratulate them on their efforts and offer to try again a different time.  Give it a few months.

IF you need ideas for Fine Motor exercises, check here.

What method worked for us?

We used a hybrid method!  We made our own Montessori inspired board, which we used with this you tube video:

This lady is a genius!

Here is a picture of our board.  It's not all fancy, but I have no more kids to teach here at home... so it will have to do.  😊  It's been through two kids practicing and tossing it around.  It is similar to a Montessori board, but it is marked and knotted like the video example.

Making your own board

We used a painting canvas board as something that was sturdy and inexpensive like this.  I drilled in four holes on each side about the width of a shoe.  I used two different color laces, and laced them as shown in the picture below.  The dashed lines shoe where the laces run on the underside.  I drilled the holes small enough to be snug.  This way the laces don't slide around too easily!

Let me know if you tried this, and how it works for you!  If you have any other tips, please share in the comments below!


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