occupational therapy

Put a Sock on It! Occupational Therapy Tips for Donning/Doffing Socks

For many kids, learning to independently put on their socks and shoes is an important early childhood skill and major milestone. It’s an important indicator of emerging independence and self-care, and it also lays the foundation for planning and sequencing of more complex skills. But our occupational therapy team knows it can also be difficult to learn.

Several skills are required for one to be able to put on/take off their shoes and socks, including:

  • Crossing midline
  • Bilateral coordination
  • Intrinsic and extrinsic muscle strength in hands
  • Pincer grasp
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Biomechanical postural control
  • Forearm pronation and supination

All of this to say: It’s something that takes some baseline skills and practice! Children with delays, disabilities, injuries and other challenges may find it even more difficult to master if they struggle with:

  • Poor finger strength (needed to manipulate items).
  • Difficulty planning/sequencing (Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, etc.).
  • Trouble with self-regulation (critical to persisting with a tough task).
  • Limited interest in self care or independence.