At what age should my son be able to tie shoelaces?

Children do not usually have the fine motor skills or coordination to tie their shoelaces until they are at least 5 years of age. Learning to tie shoelaces also requires patience and determination (which can be just as challenging for parents as it is for children) because it requires lots of practice. To make it easier for your son to learn, replace thin or slippery shoelaces with wide, easy to grasp laces. Using two different color laces can also make it easier for you to show your son how to tie the laces and for him to follow your verbal instructions. There are a number of toys that help children learn to tie shoelaces such as Melissa & Doug's “Wood Lacing Sneaker” and PlanToys “Plan Preschool Tie-Up Shoe,” or you can lace ribbon through a cardboard box or a cardboard cut-out of a shoe so your son has a place to practice. 

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.