In today's age of Velcro straps and slip-on shoes, teaching a child how to tie shoes may seem like something that can wait. However, there will inevitably come a time when your child wants a pair of shoes that has laces. Besides encouraging self-reliance, tying shoes promotes fine motor development, hand-eye coordination and dexterity. Even if your child doesn't need to tie his own shoes, knowing how to tie can encourage social interaction and lead to increased self-confidence.
Wait until your child is developmentally ready to learn how to tie shoes. Take your child's lead when figuring out if he is ready to acquire this new skill. While most kids have the coordination and dexterity to tie shoes between the ages of four and six, some children are ready for this milestone earlier or later.
Teach your child to tie shoes when you have a decent amount of time to demonstrate and allow him to practice. Give shoe-tying lessons at home in the evenings or on the weekend. Avoid practicing tying shoes with your child in rushed situations.
Choose a specific method of tying shoes and stick to it. Break the method down into steps and demonstrate them to your child. Make sure you are sitting beside or behind your child while demonstrating so he is watching from the correct angle.
Provide shoelaces that are thick, soft and wide for your child to practice with. Replace the original laces of your child's shoes if they came with thin or slick laces.
Practice tying a shoe with your child step-by-step. Allow him to mimic your movements as you tie a shoe. Color one half of each of his shoelaces to make things easier to explain. Refer to the colors instead of right or left when describing how to tie shoes to your child.
Find a story, rhyme or song that goes along with the method of shoe tying you are teaching your child. Teach your child the words and demonstrate how the rhyme, song or story can help him remember the steps involved.
Make or buy a large cut-out of a shoe. Engage your child in decorating the shoe with markers, stickers and other materials. String an extra-long shoelace through the cut-out and allow your child to practice tying using the method you've chosen.
Praise your child for each accomplishment he makes as he learns to tie shoes. Encourage him to keep trying, and point out his progress if he gets frustrated.
Teach your child how to tie shoes on a table or in his lap. Tying a shoe that you aren't wearing is easier than practicing on one that's on your foot.