Tie Your Shoes!


This piece accompanied a poem titled “Tying Shoes” in the October 2011 issue of Highlights High Five magazine, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli.

A friend and I were laughing over a parental and educational misstep that we had both made in our children’s lives. In this day and age of velcro and slip-ons, we had both failed to teach our children how to tie shoes.

Normally, children are to be taught the skill of tying shoes in kindergarten. They spend various amounts of time practicing this skill, perfecting their form until they can confidently tie their laces.

For some reason, this skill seemed to have escaped both of our attentions. It wasn’t until my oldest was in first grade, perhaps second, that she finally had the need to tie a bow and it wasn’t on a pair of shoes!

It caught me by complete surprise, that in all of my teaching, I had forgotten this one, simple task. How is it that I had forgotten to teach them how to tie a bow?

Easy; they didn’t have any shoe laces and I had always tied up the bows on their dresses. Of course their was no reason for them to have learned this skill.

I wished to remedy my failure though, so teach them I did. They learned very quickly and loved practicing their new found ability.

My youngest is now in kindergarten and the subject has arisen once again. Not a single pair of my children’s shoes have laces and my son doesn’t have anything with bows, so finding something for him to practice on is going to be interesting.

It seems I am going to have to dig out some of his sister’s dresses and have him practice on them! I am sure he is going to get a great laugh out of that. Perhaps Pop will lend us a pair of his shoes to practice on.

It does make one wonder though… Is learning to tie a bow that important, in our generation?

I came across THIS ARTICLE which brings up the controversial discussion that shoe-tying isn’t the only life skill we are skipping out on, in favor of a more tech-savvy upbringing.

While on the other hand, experts seem to believe that learning to tie your shoes is vital in early education, as THIS ARTICLE mentions.

No matter what the experts have to say about the issue, I figure that knowledge is always a good thing. So, little man is going to learn how to tie his shoes.

Do your children know how to tie their shoes? Was this mandatory by the end of Kindergarten or did you let them learn at their own pace?

8 thoughts on “Tie Your Shoes!

  1. I really enjoy reading your articles, although I don’t always have time to answer.

    I haven’t taught my boys (6yrs and 3.5yrs) yet how to tie a bow, in part because of the fact that they mostly wear velcro shoes, but in part also because developmentally their fine motor skills aren’t there yet. Why struggle a lot now, making it unpleasant for them, when I can wait a couple of months and then teach them easily. That is part of home schooling – do it at the right time, and not pressure them to do it “at this point in time” because “the schools teach at at this time”. Same with reading and writing.


  2. My 3rd grade daughter just learned to tie her own shoe laces this year. I think the pressure of having them learn this skill in kindergarten is not only hard on the babes but the mamas too. I remember stressing about it and double, even triple knotting her shoes so as not create unneeded drama about laces becoming untied at school. We were in a private school then and that was one of many UNNECESSARY stressful daily moments from our kinder experience. I think it’s shameful to make such a big deal about this skill so early in life. Another blessing of homeschooling I didn’t think about until now! Love your posts. I’ll have to click your reference links when I’m on the road traveling this week and have more time to think about this topic! 😉


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