17 answers

Ties up Everything

So I'm not sure how many kids do this, but i'm sure there are some. My daughter is obsessed with tying up everything. If she ever finds a string, cord, shoe lace, etc. she will tie up her toys or her feet as a game. She is 3 1/2 years old and has done this since she was about 2. I don't know how to stop it. She doesn't hurt anything when she does it, she just has been destroying her shoes, headbands, shirts with ties, etc. I'm not a believer in just never having those things in reach, i've always just tried to divert the behaviors. She sometimes takes it too far and will tie something around her cat's neck as a leash. She has gotten in trouble for that, but how can I curb this or will she grow out of it? or i guess I also want to know if any other kids do this?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I'm just glad there are many kids out there that do this. I knew there had to be, just wanted reassurance, I guess. lol I think i'll just continue to talk to her about it and make sure she understands it can hurt the cats or herself. So I won't worry and I'll let her imagination grow. Thanks!

Featured Answers

Hi D.... My kids from time to time enjoyed tying things up. finally, I got them a big box of all different types of string, rope, etc. and told them they could tie anything in that box up as long as they didn't tie it on their skin (like too tight to cut off circulation) and all pets were out of bounds. They loved it and eventually grew out of it.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I guess I'm just hear to answer: Yes! My kids do/did it too. Mostly my boy, who is now 7, and still likes to tie things up! His forte is tying chairs together to make a train, or tying things to his doorknob to make a "trap," etc. So, I'm sure your girl is normal! You do need to make sure she is careful with the cat and not to tie things around her own neck. That is hard to monitor sometimes! Here is a funny story for you though... My son, probably several years ago, decided to tie his shoelaces to his chair during his children's portion of church. No one noticed until he started bobbing up and down and messing around with his chair trying to UNTIE himself. No one knew what he was doing, and so finally, the music leader asked him to come up and help her so he could relieve some of his "excess energy," only to find he was tied to his chair. His teacher tried and tried to untie him and didn't suceed, so they passed both him and the chair back to another teacher who finally untied his knots! I guess everyone got quite a laugh, and it probably taught him a little lesson too. Anyway, when the music leader related that to me, I had to laugh. The "tying" phase can be so annoying, but once in a while you get something to chuckle about. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi D. - one of my daughters went through the same stage when she was around 5-6 and she grew out of it after about a year. She tied up everything! I was a bit worried at first that it might lead to more disturbing behavior, but it seemed she just needed to get it all out of her system. I let her tie anything she wanted except for people and animals and she was happy as a clam tying up all her stuffed animals and hanging them from the ceiling fan, etc.... haha! Honestly, how much fun is that to see your stuffies winging around when you turn the fan on? We have to be careful how much "adult" content we add in to the innocent playings of children.
You know your child better than anyone else - listen to that voice inside of you - does it tell you this is okay and she is in an innocent phase that we are putting more serious (and adult) ideas on, but that she is not intending? Or does it tell you there really is something morbid or destructive about her behavior that you should look into it more?
I am sure that if you take the time to listen to your inner voice, you will know what the correct path is for you and your child. Good Luck and let us know how it goes!

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter just turned 6 and has been doing this for about a year. I'm sure it's some kind of phase, I haven't worried too much about it unless she ties things around hers or her brothers neck, thinking they are animals going for a walk. I let it go just because I like her to express her imagination in her play, unless she's going to cause harm to herself or someone else I wouldn't worry too much about it.

1 mom found this helpful

D., I have four children (20, 18, 11, 8) and I had one tier. She wanted to tie up everything too. Cords, ropes, strings, etc. We even had a cat tied up too. I think distracting her is a great idea but it may be that she just likes the manipulation of the strings and it seems challenging. She's probably just developing her coordination. Perhaps get her some craft toys that are age appropriate, something involving strings or yarn or other hand manipulating activities. I bought her a bunch of those little My Little Ponies with the colored manes and tails and we spent hours braiding the tails and putting hair holders on the tails, etc. In my daughter's case she was just energetic and tying things kept her from getting bored. She later became a great soccer player with all that energy. Good luck with your studies and hang in there, this too shall pass.

1 mom found this helpful

Fetish? Medicince? Good grief! I have twins who are turning four in two weeks and one of them has been doing this for a while. He has stripped all of our shoes in the closets of their laces. I would not worry about the cat incident, beyond emphasizing that it is not ok and can hurt the cat. My twins have willing accepted some purse straps from my old purses as substitutes for leashes and they will put those on stuffed animals, or hook them on each others shirts or belt loops, when they feel the need to "walk" someone. The straps have the clasps so it doesnt require tying. They 'tie' zip cords for their action figures, use strings/ropes/laces/straps as tow ropes for their cars, leashes for stuffed animals, lassos etc. It is fun and imaginative. What happens at Christmas when you give them a toy? they play with the box. Same type of thing.

1 mom found this helpful

i have a daughter who tied everything together with string, yarn, whatever she could get hold of. i once found her room strung like a sloppy spiderweb. i let her do it unless it caused harm, which it seldom did. if she destroyed something of her own, she had to do without it. she eventually grew out of it as she did other unusual behaviors. just give it time and gentle direction.

1 mom found this helpful

OH MY GOSH!!! I thought I was reading one of my own stories! My daughter did exactly the same thing. It drove my husband and I nuts! She'd tie something so many times that we'd have to cut it to get if off. When they're young like your daughter, you think it's just a phase and you don't want to scold them; but after several years it becomes an nuisance. Actually, it was downright freaky! If she weren't such a level-headed, sweet, wonderful person, I would have been really nervous about what this meant.

When our daughter was about 6 or so, we finally pulled the plug on her tying things up. We sat her down and explained how all of the thing she was using to tie cost money and that she was ruining them. We also explained that some of the things she tied were inappropriate and could cause damage or cause someone to get hurt. We made it mandatory for her to ASK if she wanted to tie something up...especially if it was not hers.

It took about another year of conditioning her to not do it; but she finally stopped...except sometimes only tying her animals together. She's 12 now and as normal as any pre-teen would be. ;-)

Good luck to you! :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.... My kids from time to time enjoyed tying things up. finally, I got them a big box of all different types of string, rope, etc. and told them they could tie anything in that box up as long as they didn't tie it on their skin (like too tight to cut off circulation) and all pets were out of bounds. They loved it and eventually grew out of it.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful

Hi - my 4.5 little girl does this - but not to that extent - usually she is playing like she is the SuperHero & the Tie is for the Bad guys - she sort of tied up the dog once but I told her no & How it could hurt him & she hasnt done it since - but she still uses one as a lasso for the bad guys - just like she's seen in cartoons. Have you asked what Game she's playing or where she saw it? Maybe get her those wooden Cards that you lace around the pictures - she may enjoy that & its safe :) My daughter also does a Bag Lady thing, where she hoards Everything into bags, Baskets, etc & Ive Known Plenty of other parents that say their children do that as well - I Really think these are normal toddler things to do - but don't let her hurt herself or the cat - maybe make a game between her and you where its ok to tie certain areas - your feet, etc - but Nothing about the waist? :)Good Luck & sorry I wasnt more help - S.

1 mom found this helpful

I assure you it is completely fine at this point, and not fetish behavior, as one person mentioned. I did the same thing as a child. I even tied my stuffed animals together, then to myself so that they could not fall of they bed at night. I tied them to my fan, I tied my brother up. It's healthy, natural, and a heck of a lot of fun. I am now 26, have my Master's degree in Elementary Education, a reading endorsement, an SEI endorsement, am happily married, and am a good citizen. I don't have the desire to tie up my husband, or anyone else for that matter. I would be firm about not tying up the cat, but she is only trying to make a collar, not kill him, so I don't see that she that as intentionally harmful.

Oh, and homeopathic medicine?????? How the heck would that help? I think that is a shameless plug.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,

Well let me start by telling you that I too was, and still am a tier upper. When I was two, my mom told me it all started by me watching cartoons where the bad guys were tied up. Remember Dick Dastardly? May have been before your time. Anyway, my grandmas neighbor was in to the art of Macrome. One day my grandma took me over and I was watching her and became very fascinated. She started teaching me with simple knots, then moved on gradually. By the time I was 4, my mother and grandmother were amazed at the wall hangings, pot hangers, and creations I was making.

Try getting her involved with learning Macrome. There are several books out there at Hobby Lobby that can teach you the step by step art. That could be something the two of you could work on as a project. Then as she progresses, you can get her into craft classes where she can learn to make beaded jewelry, doll hair, learn different braids etc. You could also get her involved with the Sunshine Girls, Brownies, Girl Scouts, etc, as they have projects dealing with knots, tie dying, etc.

Just a thought. It helped me. I can tie boat knots better than any man I know. lol. Good luck and enjoy the fun.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,
My son is seven and he had the same behavior as your daughter. He would even unplug cords to use them to tie things when he had nothing else to use! Like your daughter, it started when he was a toddler. I had a grave concern because he was unplugging live cords!
My Homeopath observed his behavior one day and explained to me how Homeopathy is based on characteristics and behaviors. (side note: Homeopathy has been around for hundreds of years and is the preferred method of medicine in Europe) She prescribed a Homeopathic Remedy which I gave to him and the behavior stopped! I am happy to say that Homeopathy has assisted us with all of my son's ailments! It cured the impantago around his mouth overnight as well as night terrors within minutes.
I have experienced miraculous things with Homeopathy as well. Too numerous to mention.
I cannot imagine my world as a mother without Homeopathy. I do not know where you live, but it would behoove you to contact your nearest Homeopathic Practitioner! I am certain you will be amazed at the results!
If you are skeptical, do research. Just Goggle Homeopathy.
It is my opinion, from experience, that Homeopathy could cure any ailment or behavior on this site.

a note to Jamie V......unless you know for a fact that Homeopathy does not work, it matters not how many degrees you have obtained at whatever age, you are not educated in Homeopathic treatments, and should possibly withhold Judgment when in a sincere gesture a Homeopath was willing to share her insight and empathy as an educated Practitioner! There is no shame in knowledge! only in ignorance! Possibly next time you comment, you would be well advised to have educated yourself first.

She's 3 1/2 and already knows how to tie? That's pretty good! Just give her some fun books and dolls with ties on them. Or maybe even a blankie with lots of stringy edges she can tie on all day.

they are very facinated with string and she is wanting to master tying....give her something that she can do. She is listening to the voice inside of her and wants to satisfy that ability to tie. Get her the doll head that she can fix the hair and teach her boundaries. It is hard! Let her make necklaces with beads and string. Kids love that kind of activity.
Does she go to preschool? Is she learning something there that she is trying to master? Kids try so hard to master a skill.

Hope that this helps!

I am the happy mother of three grown children and they all tied everything (except live animals) they could get a string, rope, cord any thing around. They grew out of it and now don't tie any thing, even the loaf of bread (my son). As long as you watch where you walk and that there isn't any living thing tied there should not be any harm outside of the shoes, etc. There are toys and dolls that let children tie their shoes and shirts and thing like that which interested my kids. My son chewed (still does) holes in the front neck of all his shirts, I wish he would have stayed with tying things up.

My daughter did this too. I don't remember when it stopped, but she's 20 now and hasn't tied anything or anyone up in many many years! I couldn't believe how many things she would tie up. We always would find our shoes tied together in complicated knots, and blankets, shirts, and anything else that would loop! We still kid her about it.

In my un-expert but experienced opinion, it's probably something that will pass soon enough. Then you can laugh about it!

You are right to put a limit on what she can tie when it comes to pets and people, but I think that when she loses the fascination it will stop.

Some kids do the repetitive behavior because it is something that they can do well. Our 2 1/2 year old son likes to unscrew and screw lids on everything and I'm sure it is because it is something he does well and gains confidence from. Maybe teach her to do something different with that skill, like making those weird potholders with the plastic loom...although I'm not sure if that is age appropriate, but you could find something that is. Good luck and lock up your sneakers!

I wouldn't worry about this too much. See if she grows out of it. I work at a Montessori school with 3-6 year olds and many are struggling to learn to tie even at age 5 or 6. One of the concepts of the Montessori philospohy is "sensitive periods" in which there is a consuming focus on one particular skill. That is the natural time in which this skill is being developed and it is good to support it. My advice is to buy her tieing puzzles and also lacing cards. Be impressed with her excellent ability to do well with these because of all her earlier practice. And of course, make sure she has tie up shoes!

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.