Tips To Teach Your Kids To Put The Correct Side Of The Shoe On Each Foot

Teaching your children to dress themselves can be quite challenging, and shoes are perhaps the most difficult part of getting dressed. Even if you decide to avoid the issue of buckles and shoelaces, in favor of slip-ons or velcro shoes, you still need to make sure that your child is putting the right shoe on each foot. This is something that we, as adults, take for granted, but that can confound even a bright young child. If your child is struggling with picking the right shoe for each foot, try these tips, they may help.


Firstly, don’t expect your child to get the technique first try. It may take several weeks (or even months) of regular practice to get it right. Don’t rush your child, or worry if one child you know is getting it right aged 4 while your child is older and still struggling. Every child develops different skills at different ages and this is perfectly normal.

Insides and Outsides

If your child has shoes with a design on them, then it may be easier for your child to learn which shoe goes on which foot. Find a part of the design that appears only on the inside, or only on the outside, and use that to figure out which food each shoe goes on. If there is not a clear marking on the outside (or inside) of the shoe, put one there.  One trick that some parents use is to draw smiley faces on the inner edge of each shoe (you can even buy trainers that are designed to be drawn on with fabric pens, and decorate them to your taste). Tell your child that the shoes should smile at each other. This is memorable, and will help your child remember which shoe goes where.

Dominant Foot

If your child prefers plain shoes, mark the inside of the shoe that goes on the dominant foot. Remind your child that the shoe with the star on it (or whatever marking you chose) goes on the foot that is on the same side as the hand that they hold their fork with, or write with. This is a more discrete method of helping your child to remember how to put their shoes on and it may work well for children who feel that they are old enough to be able to dress themselves, and are embarrassed at having problems with their shoes.

Let a Child Demonstrate

Some children learn more quickly from other children than they do from adults, so if there is a friendly older child in the neighbourhood, let them demonstrate the technique they use when they dress themselves.

Encourage Your Child to Try For Themselves

If your child believes that you will always dress them, then they may simply not bother to learn. Try to get your child dressing themselves before they go to kindergarten, so that they can enjoy some independence. This may require some tough love, but it will be worth it in the end.

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