Life skill – tying shoes

by , posted on December 20th, 2011 in Parenting




Learning to tie shoes

My kid is eight.

And yesterday, I bought him his first pair of sneakers with laces. Because it occurred to me, in the Velcro Age, that we’re raising an entire generation with no idea how to tie shoes.

So Monday, Sawyer and I had a little sit-down.

I realized I’d never taught anyone before. Sage’s friend showed her last year in pre-k, but I’m not convinced she really knows how to do it – since they always seem to be untied.

I’d heard something about bunny ears. But I have no idea what that’s about. I mean, there’s only one loop (I found out later that day, while chatting with a dad at a birthday party, that his wife still makes two bunny ears out of the laces when she ties her shoes – which I’ve never done. Anyway, he compared it to still calling the restroom the “potty.” Eventually, you outgrow the bunny ears. And the potty. Yes, I giggled.)

The first thing I figured out is you can’t teach it facing your child. You have to be next to him. Duh.

I showed him five or 10 or possibly eleventy-billion times. Then I had him try it, while I held his fingers.

Let’s just say there was a lot of, “I CAN’T DO IT” while his eyes drifted instead to the TV.

Once Tom and Jerry was paused, I came up with a bunny hybrid.

“You make the bunny ear, then you wrap the snake around its neck and pull it through,” I explained, demonstrating how you could strangle that damn bunny ear with the snake/lace.

It’s all in the delivery, people. I was speaking his language. Torture. Death. Reptiles.

He practiced and practiced and then..

“I did it, Mom!” he yelled, his smile lighting his face. And then he ran off to show David.

There really is nothing like seeing the joy of your child when he or she accomplishes something, is there?

Later, we sat in the car, waiting for Sage to finish soccer camp. We watched her on the far field as she dribbled and practiced new skills she’d learned. I told Sawyer that she was learning a lot, and that he could have gone to camp and learned them too.

“Well, I learned a LIFE skill today, Mom, and that’s more important.”

When did he get so smart?

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28 Responses to “Life skill – tying shoes”

  1. angela Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    First of all, I absolutely love the snake and the bunny ear. Though I will eventually need to modify it for Abbey to make the snake “hug” the bunny ;)

    Yay for teaching and yay for your smart boy appreciating a life skill :)

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yes. She might like the hugging better.

    [Reply]


  2. Evonne Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Yes, he’s a smart kid!

    I taught my son to tie shoes, but I keep buying him velcro, so I’m not sure he remembers. With my daughter, her Christmas vacation homework in kindergarten was to learn to tie her shoes.
    Evonne recently posted..The result of Christmas guilt

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Our school hasn’t requested that. Today my son said, “I think I’ll wear my velcro shoes today.”

    [Reply]


  3. Arnebya Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I’m not sure when my girls learned to tie their shoes. I remember having a shoe, just a shoe, with laces, a trainer I think, from Stride Rite when the oldest was in kindergarten. I doubt it made its way to the second girl. I’m giggling b/c I still double-tie my own shoes and I still occasionally say I need to use the pot (potty training the 2 yr old; cut me some slack).

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    oh NO! The bunny ears AND the potty? ;)

    [Reply]


  4. Jen Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Hayden is 7 and can not tie shoes. I suppose it is time to teach him as well.
    Jen recently posted..Seriously Last Minute Christmas Gift Suggestions

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    meh. I waited til Sawyer was 8, so you have another year. ;)

    [Reply]


  5. Cameron Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 11:00 am

    When did it stop being a requirement to get out of kindergarten?

    In related news, I apparently went to school in the Dark Ages.
    Cameron recently posted..Honey-Lemon Jelly

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Sawyer has made it to second grade without it ever being required. Unless he hid that particular sheet of paper…

    [Reply]


  6. Johanna Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Congratulations to him! I really need to teach my little guy how to tie shoes. He’s worn those darn Keens with the toggle and the pull for the last three years.
    Johanna recently posted..The Fulfillment Project Goes Big

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    We heart the Keens!!

    [Reply]


  7. Debra Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Ah, so it’s a snake & a bunny to tie the shoes, and get the kids away from Tom & Jerry long enough to listen to mom! My son is 4 and still wearing velcro shoes….He can totally dress himself, but putting on his socks & shoes is always an ordeal.

    That is an incredible life skill he has learned. congrats to you mamma for teaching it to him – he’ll remember that moment for the rest of his life!
    Debra recently posted..Mommy’s Christmas List – What I Really Want This Year!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I think when you’re 4 you’re all about the velcro. He’s got a couple years to go!

    [Reply]


  8. Juli Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I am constantly amazed how I start thinking about something and within a week or two you are writing about it.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I’m a magician!

    [Reply]


  9. Nicole Avesani Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    this is SO Great! I’m gonna keep this one in my back pocket for when my kids need to learn the art of shoe tying. He certainly did learn a life skill!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    glad it was helpful!

    [Reply]


  10. John Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I’m pretty sure, if you could throw a fart into the instructional mix, you could turn that into a bestselling children’s “how to” book.
    John recently posted..Where I break it out, bullet-point style

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Or it could be “Tie your #$*@# shoes.”

    [Reply]


  11. Janine Benedict Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    that is hilarious! Jack just got something sent home from Kindergarten saying as part of his homework he has to practice tying a shoe because it is a skill they should have mastered by the end of the year. First of all he has NO shoes with laces and second who would want to teach an impatient 6 year old how to do something as delicate and precise as tying a shoe? The husband you say? YES, that is exactly what I thought too! Hahahah!! But seriously…great post!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    I think velcro is made just for boys. Truly. Oh, and for moms who are sick of tying shoes every two seconds!

    [Reply]


  12. Jennifer Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    My son gets frustrated with his Velcro sneakers and often hucks one across the room in a fitful rage. I wonder how the snake & bunny would fare?

    I applaud your patience!!
    Jennifer recently posted..Hemorrhoids Are Good Luck Charms

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Try the snake and bunny!!

    [Reply]


  13. julie gardner Says:

    December 20th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    I have a friend who is 41 years old and still says he needs to go “potty” even when his kids are not around.

    Like when it’s just us adults.

    I know.

    I should casually mention this post to him, huh?
    Because I don’t even want to know what he calls it when he ties his shoes…
    julie gardner recently posted..Today call me momma’d

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Oh my. Tell Bill, er, I mean, your “friend,” to knock it off!

    ;)

    [Reply]


  14. Laci Says:

    December 21st, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    That is great. What a smart little guy!
    Laci recently posted..It’s A Miracle My Car Starts Some Days

    [Reply]


  15. Andrea Says:

    February 8th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I finally read this! I can’t wait to try it with Jackson. The crazy thing is, the last time I worked on tying with him, I was facing him. This did not go well, but it didn’t occur to me to move next to him. Good grief.
    But I know he’ll love the bunny and snake idea. ;)

    [Reply]


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