Fine motor skills


Learning the skill of putting on socks is an important milestone in early childhood. Not only does it help our youngsters gain independence, but it also helps build their confidence and sense of autonomy.


It requires several skills including crossing midline, bilateral coordination, pincer grasp and hand-eye coordination.

Putting on socks is a skill that children can often find challenging. It is particularly hard for children who have difficulties using both hands together.

Advice and strategies

  • Practice using loose fitting socks that are too big, they could even practice putting on your socks.
  • Avoid socks which have overly tight elastic at ankles.
  • Socks with different coloured toes and or heels can make it easier for your child to get their socks the right way round.
  • Encourage your child to sit when placing their socks on their feet, as they will be less likely to lose their balance.
  • 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 more realistic view of what elements they are finding difficult.
  • You may find it helpful initially to place socks over your child’s toes and allow them to pull the sock up.
  • Encourage your child to place their thumbs inside the sock to assist in pulling socks onto feet.
  • Teach your child to gather up the sock from the top to the heel using two hands, before placing the socks on their toes.
  • Some children don’t like the feeling of wearing socks and can be particularly bothered by seams, you could try turning your child’s socks inside out or buy seamless socks.
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