What Age Do Kids Learn to Tie Their Shoes & What Do I Do if They Can't?

Many parents wonder at what age a child should learn to tie their shoes. As a brand that has been helping parents and children navigate the ‘my child can’t tie their shoes’ situation for 14 years now, we can say with all confidence that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to teaching a child to tie their laces.  People - all people – learn at different paces and generally also learn in different ways.  Myself, I am terrible at memorizing lots of random data but when it comes to problem solving where there are multiple ways to skin a cat I thrive.  So, first things first, don’t stress about it – it will cause strain in your mornings and with your child.  If you're wondering when a child should know how to tie shoes, just remember different kids – even your own kids – will likely learn to tie their shoes at different ages.  When they do – it will mark a major milestone for your child but there is no exact age-date by which this milestone will/must be reached. 

The rest of this article will talk you through the process of teaching your child to tie their laces while also giving you valuable resources to make the process smooth and less stressful for all parties involved.

Shoe Tying Developmental Age: At What Age Should a Child Learn to Tie Shoes?

Given that most children will head out to school (kindergarten) at the age of 5 -6, most parents are going to wish to have their children self-sufficient as far as lace tying by the time they start going to school on their own. Therefore, the average age kids learn to tie their shoes is around 6.

For many children however achieving the goal of being able to tie their laces on their own prior to the 5-6 year time-frame will elude them as the fine motor skills of dexterity, in-hand manipulation, and bilateral coordination needed to tie shoelaces generally are not developed in children before 5 to 6 years of age.  And for some children those fine motor skills and attention to detail required to lace up shoes and tie shoelaces will not develop for another year or two or even three. For kids who are having trouble reaching this milestone, uLace is perfect! These no-tie laces eliminate the hassle of shoelace tying for kiddos.

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I am a business owner, engineer, and holder of 10 patents and per my parents I was 7 before I fully got the hang of tying my laces fully on my own.  So being a late bloomer as far as how old you should be to tie shoelaces is not an indication of smarts or intelligence, it’s about how we all develop uniquely as individuals from baby, to toddler to kid.

How Long Does It Take for a Child to Learn to Tie Their Shoes?

I will keep bringing this back to my own learning experiences because it is where I have the greatest first-hand knowledge and expertise when it comes to when a child should learn to tie their shoes.

The answer to “How long it will take for a child to learn to tie their shoes” is simple – as long as it takes.  Again, it is important to understand that there is a memorization component to tying shoelaces as well as a manual dexterity component and some people such as myself struggle with memorizing hard-and-fast ‘recipes’ and ‘directions’ and them some kids will struggle with the over and under and ‘thru the woods’ movements required to tie their laces. In the meantime, you can rely on uLace Kiddos Laces to ensure your child is safe from trips and falls while they are at school.

When you teach a child to tie their shoes, the process will certainly be simpler and less stressful if done in a stress-free environment, i.e., not in the morning just before going to school.

A few minutes each day spent on the basics of tying shoelaces without getting frustrated to the point your child senses that frustration – read by them as disappointment – is the key to speeding up the process of your child learning to tie their shoes on their own. uLace is not just for kids, adults of all ages love our No-Tie Laces for their increased comfort, convenience and style.

What is the easiest way to teach a child to tie shoes?

Now that you know when to teach a child to tie their shoes, it’s time to learn how. The easiest way to teach a child to tie their shoes is to use the shoes they wear each day and have them wear them while working on learning to tie them on their own – you’ll be there with them of course rooting them on and helping when needed.

Begin by telling your child that you don’t expect them to be able to learn this task on their first or even 20 try – if you have to tell them it took you a long time to learn and that you’re pretty sure they will learn even faster than you because they are so smart and pick up things quickly. Remind them that there is no real average age when kids learn to tie shoes.

A bit of extra encouragement goes a long way.

We’d recommend sitting on the floor with your child with you sitting down behind them to both provide support, direction and a gentle helping hand when needed.

With your arms wrapped around your child and with their shoelaces untied, talk them through the steps of tying their shoelaces while demonstrating the process. Go very slowly and deliberately, asking your child if they see and understand what you’re doing along the way.

Once done – tell your child that you’re going to let them take a try at it.  Watch them as they attempt to tie their laces on their own – you sitting behind them with your arms ready to wrap around them to gently assist when needed will provide the safe space for your child to learn.

Spend no more than 5 to 10 minutes per day teaching your child to tie their shoes, and after a few days you will see how you might wish to speed up, slow down or modify the teaching process.  In all cases calmness and ‘no visible frustration’ from you – the parent – is key.

Regardless of all of this there is one fact that will never go away when it comes to standard long shoelaces; no matter how you tie them they will always come untied.  Researchers at Cal Berkeley studies this in exhaustive detail and the reality is that the very first step you take after tying your shoelaces begins the process of them coming untied.  On average most people will have to re-tie standard shoelaces 8 – 12 times per day.  This is why the average human will spend 4 weeks – an entire month of their life – tying and re-tying standard shoelaces.  If you’re a parent with multiple children who has to tie them for the first 6 – 7 years of their life forget-a-bout-it. 

Want to make sure that your child’s shoe laces never come untied? Send them off each day with peace of mind by relying on the first and best No-Tie laces available today? uLace transforms any shoe into a slip-on that is easy to put on and will not come undone.

What To Do if Your Child Can't Tie Their Shoes

Not to be flippant but the reality is that technology has always eliminated/obsoleted the need to do things we had to do in the past. 

Slide-rules were replaced by calculators.

So, if you're still having trouble with your child knowing how to tie their shoes all is not lost – far from it.

I did not know differential calculus as a child but learned it when I needed to as an engineering student.  We all learn at different paces and in different ways and as we grow and mature, we learn to do the things we need to learn.

No different with shoelaces – many parents tell us they simply have chosen to take advantage of the advancement in technology and lace their child’s shoes with uLace No-Tie laces and allow their child to learn to tie their shoes when they feel the need to do so. For children and adults alike who have a disability, they may have to rely on products like these for their whole life and may never learn to tie their shoes.


We take advantage to technical advances in all other aspects of life – here’s another opportunity to do so.  Choose your battles and when technology provides a better alternative to the old way of doing something sometimes – often times – it's best to utilize the technology and focus your time, energy and brainpower elsewhere.

So, if your child is having trouble learning how to tie their laces, investing in No Tie Laces can make the shoe tying learning process much smoother and hassle free!”


uLace Customers Say


Kiddos Review shoe-tying age 5

"These laces are perfect for my vibrant 5 year old . They allowed us to buy lace up shoes that she can wear while she learns to tie her shoes.this means she can wear them to school! The bold color choices really make this shoe so much better than the white laces they came with. Affordable and shopping was very fast! I highly recommend u-laces for the very young and anyone who loves to express theme selves through foot wear. The best part for us was the adjustability. My kiddo has narrow feet and even a high top can be an option now! Thanks u-lace!" - Maureen W.



Review Child Tying Shoes Kiddos

My daughter has problems tying her shoes well and because of Covid the teachers aren't supposed to help them much- so we wanted to make sure it wasn't an issue during the school day.  When we saw the rainbows ones we knew they would look awesome with her shoes!  They were easy to use and look adorable- total life saver! - Andrea L.





Review kid learn to tie laces

My son can’t tie his shoes yet and i was looking for something like this to save my sanity with two kids and trying to get out the door! YOU NEED THIS!!! My son can put his shoes on himself and they look great! In the picture it shoes you with regular laces abs with the u laces. They even look cleaner in my opinion. - Jaime M.