Socks and Shoes
Babies love to take their socks off. They can usually manage this by themselves by the time they are 15 months old.
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.
Children learn to take their shoes off first. They can usually pull on wellies, slippers and slip-on shoes by the time they are 2 years old.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once they are ready for shoelaces watch the videos in our Shoelace Tying section for some ideas of different ways to tie laces.
Last reviewed July 2021.