Parents are often confused when purchasing school shoes particularly, one of the concerns will be what to use velcro or laces? Often the decision of what to purchase is clouded by the issue of the ability or difficulty in children learning to tie their on shoe laces.
As a podiatrist my advice is always to purchase the shoe that fits best. There will be a greater range of shoes available if shoes with laces are put into the mix. Laces will always provide better fit options; this in turn will give the shoe better support and long term durability. But the one sticking point can be a child’s ability to lace their own shoes. So the Velcro option might make parenting easier but I would encourage you to start teaching your child a new and important skill, the art of taming tricky shoe laces!
Shoe lace tying is a fine motor skill which requires planning and practice. For some children the dexterity, strength and maturity required to be successful shoe lace tiers may not come until they are 7 years old so practice and patience are required.
Children love learning and will mimic what you do, so sitting side by side with a shoe and different coloured laces is a great way to start. Lemon coloured can be on the left side and red on the right, the more hints and tips to associate with the easier for the child to learn.
The Bunny Ear Method of shoe lace tying.
- Start with the end of each shoe lace in each hand, the first step is to go over one lace and under the same lace pulling tight. This step can be repeated which will help lock the laces and prevent slipping and loosening
- Make a loop with each lace these become the “ Bunny ears”
- Again go over and under each bunny ear, pulling firmly and voila the laces are tied!
Practice with patience when there is no rush. Daily practice will reap rewards and success.
For children who struggle with shoe lace tying there are many aids available
- Loopeez www.loopeez.com is a product that assist visualising the bunny ears and helping with the tying process
- Clarkes Shoes www.clarkes.com.au make a shoe lace tying template which helps children practice their new skill
- Synch Bands synchbands.com make an elastic shoe lace with metal togs, not the same as a laced up shoe but may give another option to Velcro
So take the plunge and start the process good luck and enjoy the journey.