I used to cringe the first week of kindergarten when all the kids would come in their new, lace up shoes. If only I had learned the Cheerio Method of tying shoes earlier!
In those first weeks of kindergarten, I knew I'd be spending lots of time tying laces on cute little sneakers, feeling trapped! Eventually, I would send an email home, asking parents to please send their kids in Velcro or non-lace-up shoes until they learned how to tie them.
Though we would practice tying shoes in class, the usual bunny loop method required more double-handed dexterity than most of kindergarteners have. Even with lots of practice the kids would often get stuck after the first step. That was until I was introduced to the Cheerio Method of tying shoes!
The Cheerio way will teach your child how to tie shoes in 5 easy steps, and it works! It breaks down the most difficult part into two simple steps that kids really understand and can take ownership of. This is true hands-on learning.
This method does make a slightly different knot. Just pull up on one of the loops and it'll undo itself, simple as pie!
Step 1-Take the two strings and cross them over. Now take one of them and put it through the hole and pull them tight.
Step 2- This is the step that makes the biggest difference! Do the same thing again, but instead of pulling the strings all the way tight, I'm leave a little hole big enough for a Cheerio. (It can be bigger than a Cheerio, but Cheerio is a cute reminder for them).
Step 3- Take one lace and put it through the Cheerio making a little loop. Don't pull it yet.
Step 4- Repeat on the other side.
Step 5- Pull both loops outward and the shoe is tied!
Generally kids learn to tie their shoes between the ages of 5-7. The real answer is that everyone learns at their own pace. Tying shoes takes practice and dexterity.
For children that struggle with fine motor skills, it may take longer. To learn more about how to build up fine motor skills, check out this article that includes many fun, hands-on activities that strengthen the small muscles in fingers, hands, and wrists required for children to manipulate shoelaces, buttons, zippers, and writing utensils.
Using The Cheerio Way, I've helped many children aged 4-5 years old learn to tie their shoes. It works better than the "Bunny loops" version that requires children to hold a knot with one hand and then pull a lace around that and through with the other hand by removing that part completely!
Usually kids master the first step and get stuck, but with the Cheerio Method of tying shoes, they feel more comfortable moving to the second step since it's basically just a repeat! This method is also more accessible to kids with limb or finger differences that may struggle with manipulating objects using both hands.
Again, this question doesn't have a solid answer. The best way to teach your child is the one that works for them. I would even try more than one method and see what clicks.
There is the bunny loop method, which is actually how I was taught. The saying for tying your shoes with the bunny ears method goes like this:
Over, under, around and through,
Meet Bunny Rabbit, pull and through.
Another option is the double bunny ears method. Instead of pulling the bunny around and through, you make two loops, cross them over one another, then pull one under and through.
To me, both the bunny loop and double bunny ears method require lots of coordination on the part of the child. Looking for fun and easy ways to increase your child's dexterity? Check out these mega-fun fine motor skills activities.
Just because they require more dexterity doesn't mean these are not great methods though! I actually had a MEGA-VIRAL pin about shoe-tying on Pinterest that has over 6.5 million impressions. It had lots of love and some truly grumpy comments from people who did NOT want to learn any way but their way of tying shoes. HAHA!
But in all seriousness, the Cheerio method of tying shoes is an excellent option for kids, but that's just what it is, an option. Choose whatever works for you!