Thanks to technology, my daughter is growing up much more quickly than I did. She knows how to e-mail. She knows how to order movies on TMN — he even can scroll to find the movie she wants by alphabetical order). And she’s better at Angry Birds than anyone else I know.
What she can’t do, however, is tie her damn shoes.
I’ve definitely become a more patient person as a parent. I will sit and do her homework with her. I will spend hours in traffic driving her around to dance classes and birthday parties. But I am not patient when it comes to things like teaching her how to tie her shoes. This is why my almost eight-year-old can navigate the PVR but can’t tie her own shoes.
Part of the reason my daughter can’t tie her shoes is that she hasn’t really had to learn. The selection in kids’ shoes these days is amazing. I haven’t had to buy her shoes with laces, well, ever. And trust me, my daughter has an amazing collection of shoes, including motorcycle boots, Geox runners and leather ballet slip-ons. She owns numerous pairs of Uggs and Crocs — no laces there! Since she was born, it’s only been Velcro and zippers.
My daughter was recently sent a pair of Converse shoes from Olly, shoe store every parent should know about because of their knowledgeable staff for shoe fittings and their huge selection. The shoes were a gorgeous shade of light purple. I’ve always loved Converse (I still own two pairs!) but these shoes had laces!
I looked at them as if I were looking at a pen and ink. Laces? What the hell? I honestly had the thought, “Who uses laces anymore?” Then I had the thought, “Oh my god. My daughter is learning to do multiplication tables and she doesn’t know how to tie shoelaces yet!”
Am I the worst mother because my daughter doesn’t know how to tie laces yet? Is it like having the seven-year-old who isn’t toilet trained? I talked to Katherine Chapman, Olly’s chairperson, about kids and shoes. These days, is it normal for kids to not to know how to tie laces?
1. Chapman said that it has been a big trend in children’s shoes over the last “decade” to not have laces. “I see no signs of it disappearing.” This means that it’s normal for kids born in the last decade, and for those who will be born in the future, to not know how to tie laces until they’re much older. “I wouldn’t worry about it,” she says. Okay!
2. “It’s much easier for kids and teacher and parents to get shoes on or off without laces.” She said that when buying shoes with Velcro, they should always be adjusted to fit the child’s foot securely without the foot slipping around in the shoe. “They can be just as effective as lace shoes.” So it’s okay and safe for us parents to not teach them how to tie laces!
3. “Many children are learning to tie laces later in life. The trend has definitely impacted the age curve,” she said, not that they shouldn’t learn to eventually. “It comes in handy to know how to tie shoelaces and bows, so eventually most children do learn how to do this.” I shouldn’t worry about having 13-year-old who doesn’t know how to tie laces then. Phew!
4. I ask her how to teach a child how to tie shoelaces in this day and age. “Like the old days, ‘Practice, practice, practice,’” she said. “Either set your child up with an actual shoe with laces and have them keep practicing, or you can use a book that has the physical laces attached that is just for learning this skill. That works and they don’t grow out of it,” she jokes.
So, tonight, along with practicing piano (some things never change!), we’ll practice how to tie laces on the new pair of Converse shoes. The purple Converse are just too cool to not send her in them to skool, as the kids say these days.
Do your kids know how to tie their laces yet? Or are laces a thing of the past?