Have you taught your kids how to tie their shoelaces yet? Or have you, like me, skipped over this particular parenting headache in favour of children's shoes with velcro straps instead of shoelaces? If so, you may be doing your children a serious disservice, according to new research.
The Telegraph reports:
Ian Fieggen, who is known as Professor Shoelace, said children were getting worse at the practice because they were being allowed to avoid it.
"There was some research that looked into the fact that children were learning these things later in life because they were able to put them off," he said.
"Parents are able to give their kids Velcro shoes so they can delay these developmental milestones.
"This is actually a problem because it's not just that they can't tie their shoe laces but they no longer have gone through a difficult thing to learn and found that OK, it does sometimes take a lot of work to learn something."
The newspaper adds that being able to tie your laces used to be considered a skill necessary to have mastered by the age of four, whereas many children now have difficulty tying their shoelaces "at the age of nine or ten when they started getting interested in sport".
One recent study even found that kids are more confident using an iPhone or DVD player than they are with tying their shoelaces. Gulp.
I don't mind admitting that this sent me on a guilt trip. Don't get me wrong; I've done my job in trying to teach my kids how to tie their shoelaces but let's just say that I've also taken the easy route and tend to opt for velcro-fastening shoes over shoelaces wherever possible.
Why? Mainly cos I'm tired of watching my kids take their shoes off without undoing their laces and then losing the will to live when they have to figure out how to put them on. At least one of my kids would put off putting on a pair of shoes with laces on account of it taking him twice as long as it does to throw on a pair of trainers with velcro fastening. Yes, it's a touch lazy and yes, I should probably ditch the velcro and insist that my brood get to grips with laces but man, sometimes shortcuts are seriously tempting in the minefield that is parenting.
Right then. I am totally rushing off to order this book to help teach my crew how to tie their laces. Let's hope they thank me for it...