Children often have difficulty putting socks on correctly and end up with the heel on the top of their foot.
- Show your child how to remove and put on socks correctly, and let them help you.
- Try buying socks that have different coloured heels and toes.
- Trainer socks can help the child get used to where the heel goes.
- Looser socks are easier, so let your child practice with your socks. Add a little talc to the bottom of the foot to help the sock slide on easily.
- Cotton socks are easier to handle than nylon ones.
- Practice putting socks on to dolls or stuffed teddies.
- Try ‘backward chaining’, which means breaking down the task of putting on or removing the sock into small steps, and teaching the last step first. When they’ve mastered the last step, let them do the last two steps themselves, and then all three, gradually reducing the help you’re giving.
Children can find putting on their shoes a challenge, and much prefer to take them off. You may see:
- They leave laces untied or stuffed into the shoe.
- The tongue is wedged into the toe part of the shoe, which causes discomfort and makes it more difficult to put on.
- The heel of the shoe is trodden down at the back because the child has not been able to pull it up over their heel.
- The child has their shoes on the wrong feet.
- Velcro straps are not pulled tight, so the shoe is loose on the foot
What you can do to help:
Start with teaching them how to take the shoe off properly.
- Sit behind the child and show them how to undo the fastenings, pull the shoe open to loosen it and pull it upwards with the hand under the heel.
- Repeat the task but allow your child to do the last step – pulling the shoe off – themselves.
- Keep practicing the task in the same way. As your child progresses, let them do more – pulling open the shoe as well as taking it off the foot.
- Let them practice taking off your shoes for you, or take shoes off their toys.
- Encourage your child to help with fastenings.
Putting on shoes is a little trickier. Start with putting on larger or looser shoes – dressing-up games are a good time to practice this.
- Let your child practice with your shoes.
- Start with open-back or slip-on shoes.
- Teach your child one of these two methods:
- Place the left foot over the right knee, and put the left shoe on – and vice versa, or
- Place the shoe on the floor, and let the child wriggle their foot into the shoe.
- If your child needs extra support let them sit on the bottom step, against a wall or in the corner of a sofa.
- Always do the task in the same order so it’s easier to remember which bit comes next – for example, loosen the fastenings, pull the shoe open, pull the tongue out of the shoe, wriggle the foot in, readjust the tongue and fasten.
- At first you may need to position the correct shoe by the correct foot. If your child has difficulty putting each shoe on the correct foot you can:
- Fix something bright onto one shoe and teach your child ‘bright is right’.
- Buy shoes with a logo on the outer side.
- Hold the shoes next to each other before putting them on to see if they’re ‘friends’; that is, they ‘face’ each other.
- Place the shoes in front of your child in the correct position, so the left shoe is matching the left foot.
- Help your child recognise their left and right shoe by drawing arrows inside which point together.