Fine motor skills


Putting on and removing shoes independently is one of the key tasks under daily living skills. In addition, It also helps to foster a child’s awareness of their own body by providing a base for more complex self-care and play skills


It requires a hook grasp of the hand, strength, and proximal stability.

Putting on shoes is a skill that children can often find challenging. It is particularly hard for children who have limited strength, especially in their hand and finger grip.

Advice and strategies

  • Practice with slip on shoes, slippers and wellies first. If your child has to change shoes in nursery try to avoid laces or buckles.
  • It is often helpful for you to sit next to or behind your child when they are completing this task as it will give you a more realistic view of what elements they are finding difficult.
  • Put the shoes in front of your child the right way round and try the sticker trick (cut a sticker in half and stick one half in each shoe) to help them work out which shoe goes on which foot.
  • Encourage your child to sit when placing their shoes on their feet, as they will be less likely to lose their balance.
  • Get your child to look at their feet to check the shoes are on the right feet.
    Once they have mastered slip on shoes move on to simple fastenings such as velcro or zips.
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