learning to tie shoes

The Amazing Secret Weapon to Learning How to Tie Shoes

 <This is a sponsored post. To learn more, read my disclaimer>

Learning how to tie your shoes is a giant leap toward becoming a “big kid”.   Kind of like getting your first car or driver’s license. It feels like you are immediately branded as a “grown-up”.

Yup, being self-sufficient below the ankles is a big deal.

There are tons of tips and tricks to help kids achieve those “big kid” milestones. Learning to get dressed (including shoes) by themselves is really monumental in a kid’s life.

Did you know that typically developing children are ready to learn how to tie between the ages of 4 ½  and 6?  It’s true. Unfortunately, many elementary school children don’t learn for years after that. 

  

Why aren’t Kids Learning How to Tie Shoes?

There are many reasons:

  1. No one ever taught them.
  2. Parents buy velcro or slip on because it’s faster and easier.
  3. It’s a hard thing to learn – Parents watch their children struggle with it and revert to number 2.

But there’s a solution for learning how to tie shoes!  Even for children who struggle with attention, motor planning, or using two hands together.

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How To Help A Child That Uses Too Much Pressure When Writing

Many children use too much pressure when writing.  Read on for OT tricks to conquer this problem!


“He breaks pencils like crazy, and then wastes 5 minutes each time to go sharpen it!  Why is he pressing so hard?”

The teacher’s cheeks were pink with frustration.  I could see her patience with Billy was at an all time low.

This little boy was bright, but he wasn’t producing neat work and he wasn’t finishing his work in an appropriate time frame.  And all because of one silly reason:

Too much pressure.

There are a few reasons why a child may be pressing too hard when writing, coloring and drawing.

too much pressure when writing

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2 Magical Crayons That Will Immediately Change Your Child’s Grasp

<How to change your child’s grasp by changing their crayons>

“He uses all of his fingers…  and he gets annoyed when I correct him!”

As a pediatric Occupational Therapist, I hear this from a lot of moms and teachers.  Pencil and crayon grip is important, and it can be difficult to change when a child gets older.

But there’s hope!  I promise!

CASE STUDY: HARRY

This is Harry, a 4-year-old with no interest in crayons.  In the first picture, he’s using a palmar supinate grasp, which is typically seen in 1 to 1 ½ year olds.  His mom, a teacher that I work, with approached me looking for help.  Her question: 

How can I change my child’s grasp?

Change your child's grasp

Harry’s preferred grasp was a palmar supinate, using the pinky side of his hand to control the movement of the crayon. This grasp was inefficient and immature for his age.  It also didn’t allow the small isolated movements of his fingers during writing and drawing activities.  Coloring and drawing is a significant source of the fine motor exercise a 4-year-old child should be getting.  So if the child isn’t using the right muscles for the activity, they are missing out on valuable strengthening time.

 

As you can see by the 2nd image above, Harry’s mom took my recommendations – and it WORKED!
I’m so excited to share my favorite trick to stop kids from using too many fingers AND 2 magical crayons to use.  But here’s why these tricks are important for parents and teachers to know.

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A Valentine’s Day Motor Monday: Super Simple Hand Strengthening

I have a confession: I love the Dollar Store.  I just do.

The problem is that it’s impossible to leave without a few extra things.

BUT – that’s how I ended up with my latest and greatest Valentine’s Motor Centers.  

I swear I just went in there for a couple of birthday cards, but when I saw the “seasonal section” filled with Valentine’s Goodies, I couldn’t resist.

These adorable pink and red Valentine’s Day “table scatter” hearts were the perfect size for little hands to work on grasping.  I just started adding to my basket.  

Sigh.

Why resist?  It’s for the children!

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A Quick & Easy Shoe-Tying Trick

A QUick & EAsy SHoe Tying Trick

Today’s Idea: Use two different color pipe cleaners taped to a table to teach your child how to tie a bow.

I’ve taught hundreds of children how to tie. One of the most difficult and frustrating things about tying is that children have to keep both hands on the laces at all times, or the laces will “flop” and you lose your “bow” or “loop”, etc. With pipe cleaners, the loops stay in position, even if the child takes their hands away. This helps them to see what the laces should look like, and makes it less frustrating.

 

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Shoe tying trick Dressing

 

 

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How to Adapt Buttoning and Zipping For Your Child

<Buttoning and Zipping can be stressful and difficult to learn.  Check out these OT tricks to adapt buttons and zippers for your kid!>

 

Busy parents on the go have their plate full in the morning. Breakfast, washing up, brushing teeth, and finding backpacks all help create that chaotic school day morning.

Then don’t forget about getting dressed! 

When little ones can get dressed on their own, it takes a huge burden off moms and dads in the morning.  Buttons and zippers can be a major inconvenience.

BUT- there are some simple ways to adapt buttoning and zipping so that your child can do it independently.

Many toddlers and young school age children wear sweats and leggings to school to avoid the work of buttoning and zipping.

What about older children with weak fine motor skills?

What about children with physical limitations?

They should be able to wear jeans and other clothing just like their peers!    Here’s how.

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