23 answers

How Do You Teach Your Child to Put the Shoe on the Correct Foot

Hello,

Is there anyone that has a unique way of teaching your child to put their shoes on the correct way. I have an almost 5 year old boy that always seems to put his shoes on the wrong feet. Also, when do kids learn to tie their shoes on their own?

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So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your input. This definitely will help and I am going to get started today. He catches on fast, but with having twins it is always faster and easier if I just do it, but I need to stop that!!

Featured Answers

I teach my class to tie shoes in my pre-K class. First of all, it takes several months of steady practice. Teach him one step at a time. Have him learn to cross the strings and pull. When he masters that, go on to the next step. The hardest part is the last few. Some kids learn better with making two loops and crossing them, some learn better the other way. Also, a great tool is a learn to tie shoe. We have one we got from scholastic that is a cardboard shoe with laces which are colored. What I mean is, one string is red, one is blue so it is easier to keep track. I believe there is a book called Red Lace Yellow lace which does the same thing.

That being said, my own kindergartener has not mastered the skill and really has no interest in it, but his school doesn't care since he wears velcro shoes. ;-)

1 mom found this helpful

Tuesday my son and I are going shopping to buy new shoes and they will be the kind that ties. How else can I teach him. He is pretty used to the velcro, and which way they go he has been dressing himself correctly for a while now. They dont even remark on his progress reports from school about the shoe tying. He doesn't have a clue but I'll let you know how it goes. My granddaughter is 3 and doesn't care which way her shoes are on.

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We put a colored spot on the inside of the left shoe. He was to look at the shoes and tell me which one went on which foot before he put them on in the morning, afternoon, or whenever. He got it.
We worked on tying shoes a variety of ways. We had contests where we spent about 5 minutes a day tying things in neat bows like you would tie your shoes Yarn around clothes pins, dangling toys for the cats to door knobs, and tying shoes placed in front of us as if they were on our feet or some one else's feet. After a bout a week my children could tie their own shoes.
Winner of the contests got to pick out a special snack or a golden book story to read or a 1/2 show to watch.

1 mom found this helpful

Put an R or red/black dot, etc. on the right shoe and his right foot/sock until he's got it down. You can eliminate the right marking on foot/sock sooner by shaking his right hand or squeezing it lightly every day so he associates the right side with the right shoe with the marking. His brain will automaticaly recall the feeling of shake/squeeze on his right hand. Then it's just a matter of knowing to start with the right shoe, the marked shoe, that goes with the squeezed side. It does work.

1 mom found this helpful

Are there any special markings that are on the outside of the shoe? When we are working on getting shoes on the correct feet, we make sure to buy them shoes that have something on the outside, then we can say that spiderman (or the flower, the green stripe, whatever) needs to be on the outside, they don't like to look at each other, they like to see what's going on! This seemed to help all of our kids with getting their shoes on correctly.
Worked with us!
Good luck
~J.

1 mom found this helpful

Most schools start teaching and asking that you help your kids tie their shoes, learn address and phone number in K-5. One trick I did with my daughter was to put the shoes together, if you see the hole in the center (the gap for arches), it's right, if you put them together and there is no gap, they are wrong. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

When I'm dressing or bathing/drying my 4 1/2 and 3 1/2 year olds, I talk about the concept of right and left. Now that they sort of understand it, I showed them how to put their hands in front of them and make an "L" with their index finger and thumb on each hand. Then I write L & R on the bottom or insides of each shoe. I ask them to tell me which one is the correct "L" and which is the backwards "L" and they usually get it right now. When they are putting on their shoes, we do/talk about the "L's" and that helps them. It's not 100% yet, but it works better each time. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I know lots of little kids with smiley faces on the insides of the shoes. If they "kiss" they are on the right feet. :-)

As for tying shoes... our son was in kindergarten last year (less than 2 months after he turned 5). One of the skills they were expected to master by the end of the year was tying their shoes. Most kids got it by the middle of the year but a few took until spring. I was surprised to learn that out of the 25 kids in the class, only a few (my son included) could tie their shoes when school started. They told everyone during the kindergarten registration in the spring to work on it and teach their kids over the summer.

It can take a few months to learn. Some kids just don't have the fine motor skills developed to do it yet. My son 'read' a book called "What Will I Do If I Can't Tie My Shoe" from Scholastic books. The step-by-step pictures and rhyme made it easy for him.

1 mom found this helpful

I teach my class to tie shoes in my pre-K class. First of all, it takes several months of steady practice. Teach him one step at a time. Have him learn to cross the strings and pull. When he masters that, go on to the next step. The hardest part is the last few. Some kids learn better with making two loops and crossing them, some learn better the other way. Also, a great tool is a learn to tie shoe. We have one we got from scholastic that is a cardboard shoe with laces which are colored. What I mean is, one string is red, one is blue so it is easier to keep track. I believe there is a book called Red Lace Yellow lace which does the same thing.

That being said, my own kindergartener has not mastered the skill and really has no interest in it, but his school doesn't care since he wears velcro shoes. ;-)

1 mom found this helpful

Try putting a dot where the big toe goes on the front edge of each shoe so he can put it on the correct foot....all about the big toe :)

OR- point out the arch on the inside of each shoe, then show him his on his foot, and tell them they need to match up.....

OR- draw on the insole of each shoe- maybe take a perm. marker and make half a smiley face inside each (starting from the center of the shoe to the inside), so when they are on the correct side- the face comes close together.... :)

OR- my 7 year old just recommended writing his name- half inside the left, then the other half inside the right...so it will be in order when they are in the proper place...(good one sis!) :)

About tying their own shoes...my daughter was 4, but I think it is about when are they ready to learn...they are all little individuals. I had noticed that she taught a lot of other kids and the parents said that their kid learned from my child rather than themselves...so I guess the other kid was just more interested in learning from another kid.

Good Luck & God Bless,

A.

1 mom found this helpful

In teaching preschool I always taught the kids that the curve of the shoe was on the outside. Never had a problem with it, just had to remind them or ASK them where the curve of the shoe was.

Secondly, one of the things I did teaching preschool - 3 & 4 year olds was to have them TRACE one of their shoes on a heavy piece of cardboard. Then, I punched holes in it with a hole punch - 6-8 holes. THAT'S how we practiced tying and lacing. The BEST way to lace shoes is to lace two up and two down NOT one up and one down. Reason is, the shoe fits more securely on the foot. Try it. I re-tie people's shoes ALL The time in the gym when I notice they are having issues with stability, etc. They ALWAYS say it feels like a new pair of shoes!

Having a mock shoe gives you the ability to work on it without having to have shoes on and/or be on a "schedule". You can pick it up anytime, work on it in the car, etc.
Three or four is NOT too early, but most people wait until 5 or 6.

1 mom found this helpful

Assuming the shoes have light colored soles like tennis shoes I drew smiley faces at about the arch area on the side of the shoe just small ones and told the children when the smiley faces faced each other the shoes were on the right feet.They learned very fast.

we just have him look for the curve on the shoe and try to match it to the curve on his foot. if he does it wrong i show him the curves again so he gets it. he mostly gets it right except sometimes with his rain boots.

I have a 5 almost 6 year old. (One month away YAH!)
He learned to tie his shoe this year, but I have to say that it took him a LONG time. I'm talking we worked for months on this, like 6 months, before he actually got it down. They want him tieing shoes in kindergarten. So get started now!
As for the right foot, I showed him a certain thing on the show that went only on the outside of the foot so he could figure it out that way. If the show has a word or a stripe or a picture on the outside of the foot that's what we used. He adventually got the "right feel" of the shoe and that's how he does it now. I'll hear him say "that doesn't feel right, I need to change them".

Good luck, I have a 6 year old grandson who still doesn't get it right all the time. I think he will learn when he's alittle older. I wouldn't be concerned. The next step is how to tie them, that's a real challange!

check out www.shoezooz.com

shoezooz are awesome educational shoe stickers that help kids put their shoes on the right feet! they are fun and durable and no reading is required.

Sometimes my daughter likes to have her shoes on the wrong feet, don't ask me why. However, what I did to help her when she was learning was a drew faces in the bottoms of her shoes where her feet go. I drew the faces so that they would face each other and told my daughter to "make them kiss". And kids learn to tie their shoes whenever you decide to teach them. He's plenty old enough. Go for it!

This is a bad time of year to try, but we bought our son crocs and then used a Micky bling for the left foot and Donald for the right. It took him about 3 weeks before he got the hang of it, but we've rarely had any problems since.

I taught my daughter to tie her shoes when she was 5. Also, for the shoes, on the under side of the shoe's tongue, just write an L or R with a black permanent marker. Eventually he'll get to where he won't have to look.

My children were putting on their own shoes before they knew what a 'L' and an 'R' would mean, so I showed them how to put their shoes side by side and then test to see if it was correct... They would pick up the shoes with one hand (by pinching them together) and look at the shape the soles made as a whole. If they are incorrect, the curve of the shoes makes a butterfly. I told them that they can't wear butterflies on their feet because they would squish the poor butterfly, so to switch them. It worked for my kids, but there are alot of good suggestions here, so I'm sure you'll find something that works.

Both of my boys used to do the same thing. My 4 year old always wanted to see the picture on the outside, so he wore them on the wrong feet.

You might try putting a cool sticker on the inside and tell him the sticker is always pointing inside. Also, I stopped buying shoes for my 4 year old that had pictures on them. I found basic shoes like Champion and Sketchers that had the straps or Velcro and did not have pictures. I told my son that the curvy side always going to the inside.

I have heard that other mothers have tried putting an L or R on the bottom of one of the shoes. That shoe would always go on the same foot. I guess you could try the same thing with a sticker.

Hi K.,

I am not suggesting anything is wrong, it is within normal limits for kids to have trouble with tying shoes and knowing how to tell the difference between left and right right shoes at this age.

If it continues after you spend time teaching him, or if he seems very resistant to practice or, if he seems to want to wear the shoes on the wrong feet even once you know that he knows the difference, then this could be a sign of sensory integration dysfunction. Again, it is NOT an issue an issue now, he is within normal limits for learning the skill at age 5, but I just like to get the information out there for you, and anyone else who might tune into your post who has an older child who is struggling with this.

Wearing the shoes on the wrong feet can give children with sensory processing issues more input in their feet, so they do this on purpose to boost their body awareness. Children who have difficulty learning to tie may be having issues with bilateral integration skills (doing activity where the hands have to work together and the right hand has to cross over the center of the body to do the task, and vice versa for the left) Writing is also affected in most kids too, so it is worth identifying early. It is common to see these two issues together.

If he only wears them backward about 50% of the time, you can assume that he is just putting the shoes on randomly, but if he always wears them backward, then pay very close attention because you might have the chance to help him early if it is something that needs greater intervention. Also look for resistance to using writing utensils, or leaning to one side or resting a the non writing hand on the side of the face while writing and then turning the whole body to change directions when he writes.

Many parents may not think to link problems like this with issues that they do notice early, like a speech or language issue, and miss a chance to do early intervention.

I am sure that your son will be fine and learn this with time and instruction.

M.

Tuesday my son and I are going shopping to buy new shoes and they will be the kind that ties. How else can I teach him. He is pretty used to the velcro, and which way they go he has been dressing himself correctly for a while now. They dont even remark on his progress reports from school about the shoe tying. He doesn't have a clue but I'll let you know how it goes. My granddaughter is 3 and doesn't care which way her shoes are on.

i'm pretty relaxed about it-- i figure if it starts to hurt they'll figure it out, until then who cares? they'll get it when it matters to them. don't worry about it. my four year old figured it out, my two year old gets it right 50 percent of the time. they're putting their own shoes on and feeling good about themselves, so i'm happy.

K.,

If the inside of his shoes are a light enough color, draw an arrow in each one, pointing inward. -> for his left foot, <- for his right foot. That way, when he puts his shoes side-to-side, the arrows will meet like this.

-> <-

It's hard to notice the nuance of a shoe's instep if you're 5, I guess. He'll get it.

We're working on lace tying with my 4 year old. It's going to be a long time coming, I think. But we're practising with her robe. It's a much bigger 'lace' to handle.

Good luck to you,
J.

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