Librarians get asked a lot about tying shoes, especially as the beginning of the school year approaches. Sometimes we get asked for books about the topic, and sometimes little kids just stick their feet out and ask for help! We have a couple of resources here at the library:
What Eddie Can Do by Wilfried Gebhard gives the steps for tying shoes as part of a story.
Getting Ready for Kindergarten is a DVD that introduces basic skills like shoe tying and telling left from right.
There are lots more resources online.
A simple way to start is with a set of pictures of a child tying his shoes. Your child can practice putting the pictures in the right order and become familiar with the steps.
Wondertime provides a set of diagrams and instructions along with a few helpful tips (coloring one side of the laces with markers, practicing with a lace tied around your thigh so those pesky knees aren’t in the way, etc.).
My dad is a pediatrician, and I can’t tell you how many times he’s looked at sneakers with VELCRO straps and said, “Where were those when I was little?” (He’s also very envious of the ones that have lights in the heels.) Apparently, little boys used to get stuck wearing slip-on shoes (such as loafers) or buckle shoes until they mastered shoe tying:
Perhaps that’s why boys and girls both say the rhyme, “One, two, buckle my shoe.” Some adults aren’t so crazy about the popularity of hooks and loops. One educator created a handout for parents and teachers, encouraging them to help older students learn to tie their shoes– and do a more advanced knot so they will stay tied.
If you’re particularly interested in advanced shoe tying, I recommend taking a look at Ian’s Shoelace Site, which explains what makes a good knot and how to tie laces into special styles. It also includes a list of tips for teaching children to tie shoes.
The following books, while they don’t provide any instructions for how to tie shoes, might appeal to children who are learning the skill.
Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee (also available with a CD) features a girl who desperately wants to be able to tie her shoes. Because once you’re in kindergarten, you can’t ask anyone for help– right?
Let’s Be Safe by P.K. Hallinan reminds children to tie their shoes to prevent accidents (and covers other topics like strangers and crossing the street).
Shoelaces by Suzanne Lieurance describes the joys of all different kinds of shoelaces.