I used to cringe the first week of kindergarten when all the kids would come in their new, lace up shoes. I knew I'd be spending lots of my time tying tiny laces since kindergartners mostly don't know how to tie shoes!
Eventually, I would send an email home, asking parents to please send their kids in Velcro or non-lace-up shoes until they learned how to tie them. I only wish I had learned the Cheerio Method of tying shoes earlier!
Teaching 5 year-olds how to tie shoes using the bunny loop method requires more double-handed dexterity than they had, and though we would work on it, kids would get stuck after the first step.
How to Tie Shoes in 5 Easy Steps:
The Cheerio way will teach your child how to tie shoes in 5 easy steps, and it works! It breaks down the most difficult part into two simple steps that kids really understand and can take ownership of. This is true hands-on learning.
This method does make a slightly different knot. Just pull up on one of the loops and it'll undo itself, simple as pie!
Step 1-Take the two strings and cross them over. Now take one of them and put it through the hole and pull them tight.
Step 2- This is the step that makes the biggest difference! Do the same thing again, but instead of pulling the strings all the way tight, I'm leave a little hole big enough for a Cheerio. (It can be bigger than a Cheerio, but Cheerio is a cute reminder for them).
Step 3- Take one lace and put it through the Cheerio making a little loop. Don't pull it yet.
Step 4- Repeat on the other side.
Step 5- Pull both loops outward and the shoe is tied!
Here is a video that ties it altogether. See what I did there? Hehe:
At what age should kids learn how to tie shoes?
Generally kids learn to tie their shoes between the ages of 5-7. The real answer is that everyone learns at their own pace. Tying shoes takes practice and dexterity.
For children that struggle with fine motor skills, it may take longer. To learn more about how to build up fine motor skills, check out this post that includes many fun, hands-on activities that strengthen the small muscles in fingers, hands, and wrists required for children to manipulate shoelaces, buttons, zippers, and writing utensils.
Using The Cheerio Way, I've helped many children aged 4-5 years old learn to tie their shoes. It works better than the "Bunny loops" version that requires children to hold a knot with one hand and then pull a lace around that and through with the other hand by removing that part completely!
Usually kids master the first step and get stuck, but with the Cheerio Method of tying shoes, they feel more comfortable moving to the second step since it's basically just a repeat! This method is also more accessible to kids with limb or finger differences that may struggle with manipulating objects using both hands.
What is the best way to teach a child to tie shoes?
Again, this question doesn't have a solid answer. The best way to teach your child is the one that works for them. I would even try more than one method and see what clicks.
There is the bunny loop method, which is actually how I was taught. The saying for tying your shoes with the bunny ears method goes like this:
Over, under, around and through,
Meet Bunny Rabbit, pull and through.
Another option is the double bunny ears method, where instead of pulling the bunny around and through, you make two loops, cross them over one another, then pull one under and through.
To me, both the bunny loop and double bunny ears method require lots of coordination on the part of the child. That doesn't mean they're not great methods though! I actually had a MEGA-VIRAL pin about shoe-tying on Pinterest that has over 3.7 million impressions. I truly think it went off the charts because people are SO attached to the way that they've learned to tie their shoes, and there were many hate comments that probably helped boost that post (Thanks, Haters!)
But in all seriousness, The Cheerio method of tying shoes is an excellent option to tie shoes, but that's just what it is, an option. Choose whatever works for you!