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Can Your Child Tie Her Shoes?

Updated on March 25, 2018

"I tied it myself!" - Encourage Independence

This conversation started at a home school co-op. Marshall (age 9) was going to give his jump-rope demonstration for the end of year presentation. I said "Marshall tie your shoes before you jump, so you don't trip." Another mother whispered to me "I don't think he knows how to tie his shoes." She sort of giggled and added "a common home-school kid trait" and then confessed her nine-year-old daughter had just learned to tie her shoes a few months earlier.

Observations not Judgments

I've seen it time and time again, the overly eager mother who "cares" for her child's needs longer than is necessary or even practical. She spends her days cutting bite size pieces meat for her twelve-year-old. She's getting a back ache from bending over the tub to wash her ten-year-old's luscious black locks. Sadly I've seen six year old's who still can't wipe themselves after a visit to the bathroom. While some children may have developmental delays that could prevent them from accomplishing these tasks; others are just not given the opportunities to learn, practice, sometimes fail and eventually succeed.

So why do we do it?

Perhaps because it's the way our mothers did it. Or even more tragically maybe we are making up for mothers who didn't provide enough care. Maybe it's become a habit or it's just easier than listening to the whining. There could be multiple siblings and the chore needs to get done quickly and without a mess, so we do it ourselves. Perhaps it makes us feel valuable that we are so needed for every small task. The reasons are surely as varied as families themselves.

But the question I pose is are we doing a disservice to our kids?

As educators of our children it is vital that they have opportunities to learn independence. Tasks like putting their schoolbooks away on the bookshelf, being able to organize their supplies, as well as expected to complete age appropriate tasks is indispensable for a child's growth. Children should be allowed to clear their plates and even wash them. Yes, while their starting out you may have to follow up with a smudge of peanut butter residue left on a plate or two (or three, four and more) or rewash some forks. Yet by explaining that our children are getting older and this is one of the life skills they will need to have as an adult, you will be putting positive expectations and encouraging self reliance that will help strengthen their self-esteem.

On that presentation day Marshall did great, on his tightly tied shoes (done by his mom) and jumped enthusiastically to illustrate his new found skills of jump-roping. Imagine how he will shine on the day he can tie his shoes all on his own!

Learn to tie shoes for kids


© 2018 Jan Copperpot


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