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My 7-Year-Old Can't Tie His Shoes

Posted by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM
  • 153 Replies
2 moms liked this

My 7-Year-Old Can't Tie His Shoes, But That's What Velcro Is For

by Mary Fischer

kid tying shoes

Ok, so I have a bit of a shameful confession to make, which is hypocritical to say because I honestly don't feel ashamed about it at all. (Or at least not all that much.)

Here goes nothing. My 7-year-old son doesn't know how to tie his shoes, and frankly, I don't give a damn. Sure, I tried to teach him about a year ago. I went out and got him a traditional pair of lace-up sneakers, figuring it wouldn't take too terribly long for him to get the hang of things.

But then after about the umpteenth time of him coming home from school with them untied, and complaints about the teacher not having time to help him tie them at school -- I gave up, went back to his velcro kicks, and haven't looked back since.

And even though in the back of my brain I fully realize that he needs to learn to tie his shoes because he's a second grader, the more I think about it, I really just don't see the point in teaching him. I'm not 100 percent convinced it's a skill he'll ever really need.

Here's the thing -- there are so many shoes on the market these days that don't require any sort of tying at all. From velcro to slip-on to those little bungee tie laces you can get to put on any pair of footwear -- there are plenty of ways to skirt around having to drill the "bunny runs around the tree and jumps in a hole" bit into his brain.

And as time goes on, somehow I'm guessing shoe styles are only going to evolve even further to cater to parents who are sick and tired of worrying about their kids tripping over their untied laces. What if I spend hours teaching him now, and he never actually has to tie a shoe for the rest of his life? (He and I both have better things to do.)

I mean, by the time he's my age, he'll probably be able to magically tie his shoes with one tap on his iPhone. I can just picture him looking at me like I'm some sort of outdated old lady and saying, "Mom, people stopped having to tie their own shoes a long time ago. There's an app for that."

Sigh. We'll see -- maybe one of these days I'll break down and insist that he learn to tie his shoes just for the sake of being able to say my kid knows how to tie his darn shoes. 

But that can wait until he's at least 8 or 9 or so.

Do your kids know how to tie their shoes?

by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:43 AM
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My kids started learning to tie their shoes at three and they all had the hang of it COMPLETELY by five years old...

by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM
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My kids know how to tie their shoes, but my 10 year old daughter just about out right refuses to do so (she tucks). 

I didn't learn until I was almost seven.  Not because I wasn't trying (although I did get a late start), but more so because I had a lot of fine motor skill issues, so did my son.

That said, I find knowing how to tie your shoes assists with developing fine motor skills and a safety issue.

by Silver Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM
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My dd just learned and she will be 7 on the 4th of nov. We used the bunny ears. Make 2 loops criss cross them and then push one ear through and pull
by Claire on Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:49 AM

My 5 year old doesn't know how to tie her shoes, but only because I can't find any shoes without velcro these days! They are so flipping hard to find. She has tried on my old running shoes, but it is difficult if you are not actively wearing them when you are just learning..she just hasn't gotten it yet. My oldest learned on something at school I believe. I still have a hard time finding laced shoes for her and she will be 8 in a few weeks. 


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 

by Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:52 AM
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My 5 year old has been able to tie his own shoes for a year and my 3 year old twins are pretty close to being able to. I personally wouldn't be okay with my 7 year old not being able to tie his or her shoes inless they had special needs.
by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM
12 moms liked this

I don't think shoe tying will ever be a thing of the past, and I don't foresee every home, classroom and shopping mall having their own shoe tying robot on hand for such occasions. 

I've taught 5-7 year old children that are blind how to tie their shoes for years now. The trick we used was to tie two different styles of laces together (one round, one flat or one smooth, one crunchy/glittery/rough feeling). Its so much easier to describe what to do when there is a very noticeable difference in the right and left side of the laces. Another thing we did was to start by practicing tying the laces around the kid's thigh so they could feel each step.

We worked on the skill for a max of 10 minutes each day for a week and every kid was able to tie their own shoes at the end of the week. We did the thigh technique for two days, then shoe on the table for a day, then shoe on the actual foot for the last two days. 

10 minutes each day isn't going to make or break your routine. Life lessons are worth so much more than we can measure by tracking time on a clock. 

by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 12:05 PM

My daughter, academically advanced as she is, had a tough time with tying her shoes, riding a bike, and certain other little things that are easy milestones for most. My son is completely opposite. He struggles a bit academically, but learned how to ride a bike completely on his own in about 3 days, and was probably tying his shoes perfectly at about 3 or 4. It's probably not that big of a deal when they learn to tie their shoes, just that they eventually do.

by on Oct. 9, 2013 at 12:08 PM
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My 8 year old can't either, and not for lack of trying. He has some fine motor skill issues due to his autism, so it's been challenging. 

by Gold Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM
Neither my 7 or 5 yo ds can true their shoes, despite teaching since the age if 3.5
I figure they will get it eventually.

They can both tie other types of knots and stuff but not on shoes
by Gold Member on Oct. 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

My almost 8 year old son can't tie his either. He's very smart and actually in our gifted program at school. He just can't yet tie shoes. I try periodically to help him but he's a righty and I'm a lefty. We sit across from each other but he still has problems. He's very hard on himself and if he doesn't get something the first time, he gets extremely frustrated and starts putting himself down. It's pressure he puts on himself, not something he gets from me at all.

Eventually he'll learn but I'm not stressing about it. I refuse to put him in shoes that tie if I won't be out with him. It's not anyone else's responsibility to tie my son's shoes. I've explained to him that he'll have a wider array of shoes to pick from once he learns to tie his shoes but we aren't too worried about it at this point. It will happen when it happens. He's getting closer and closer every time we work on it.

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