Teaching Kids to Put Shoes on the Right Feet

 Your little one can learn to put his shoes on the right feet before they are old enough for preschool with this one simple trick! They get to feel like a big kid, and you get a break!

I love fostering independence in my kids from an early age. I teach them to do cleaning jobs, how to order food in a restaurant, do laundry, and more. One thing young kids love to master is putting on their own shoes, and it’s something they can learn at a very early age. For some reason their instinct is to put them on the wrong feet every time. EVERY TIME. I try to accept my kids’ best effort on whatever task I’ve assigned, but wearing shoes on the wrong feet can be really uncomfortable, cause blisters, and make shoes that actually fit feel too tight. That’s not happiness for anyone.

I came up with a simple solution to teach my kids how to put the right shoe on the correct foot. One day after switching the shoes on all three of my triplets for the 80th time that day (because taking off and putting on any item of clothing all day long is a thrill), I grabbed a sharpie and wrote their first initials on the inside edge of the soles of their shoes. I told them that when the letters were kissing, they were on the right feet. They loved it! If they brought their shoes to me to ask which shoe went on which foot I would say, “Make sure the Bs are kissing!” They would swap the shoes and a big grin would follow as they did it all by themselves.

After time the letters start to fade, and they will bring their shoes to me and ask me to do it again so they can continue to do it themselves. Of course the older kids don’t need it now, but my younger two still do. It gives them a guide while still giving them independence and a sense of accomplishment everyday. Kids really need independence. They need to make small gains in autonomy as they grow. It starts as an infant with gaining control over their hands and head and continues from there. Not only do they want it, these gains in independence give them a much-needed sense of control over their own lives and bodies. The more they can (safely) do for themselves, the easier they are to get along with. This is a very easy way to give them that.

What kinds of things do you give your little one control over? What tricks do you have for helping them know how to do things all by themselves?

8 thoughts on “Teaching Kids to Put Shoes on the Right Feet”

    1. Stunning Style

      Thanks Lorri! I say that about so many things. We’re all learning all the time. One great thing about the digital age is there are more opportunities to share what we know with each other!

    1. Stunning Style

      Thanks Super Mom! It’s my job to teach them how to be adults one day, and it comes one skill at a time throughout their whole lives.

  1. I’ve tried something similar, but I like your idea with the kissing letters. My youngest has shoes with a basketball symbol on the outside of the shoe. So I tell him that if they are not on the outside, then he needs to switch them. Just yesterday I notice he had them on wrong and I asked him where the basketball guy was. He saw they were wrong and shrugged his shoulders saying,"eh, I don’t care." KIDS????

  2. Stunning Style

    I’ve tried the "stripes/hearts/butterflies are on the outside of your feet," but that concept just doesn’t seem to mean anything to them. The kissing letters does, so we stick with that. Most kids really don’t care, and a lot of things, like backward, inside out clothes, I let go, but shoes that fit poorly can hurt and cause altered growth patterns. My feet have always given me trouble, so I’m sensitive to it.

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