DIY Parenting: How to Teach Your 6-Year-Old to Tie Shoelaces

A few days ago I decided that I was going to teach my 6-year-old how to tie shoelaces. No reason – it’s snowing and he has these little rubber things in place of his laces now. But, the time is coming.

With that on my mind, I went into the garage to think about it. I bumped into a little brick of wood and thought THIS IS IT! Then I went to find the laces we’ve pulled out of all his shoes. With 7 laces found (why an odd number?) I screwed them down at the centers of each lace. Done. Now what? Well, nothing – I put it down and left it for a few days, lol.

Over the weekend someone brought donuts home! This now meant that I had all the parts required to assemble a lace tying lesson! I won’t describe it here because I do that in the video.

I want to be clear here, despite my highly unprofessional speaking in the video. I had 2 things in mind:
1. Teach my kid how to tie his laces (+ his friends because they were present),
2. The thing I am rewarding is his effort in trying.

Everything I do with my kids is based upon the planting seeds concept. I bring an idea (the seed) in the form of a lesson or conversation or activity, and then over time, I pick up where we left off (watering the seed). I usually don’t expect a win on the first go around, and that is very helpful for both of us because it brings the expectations back down to Earth. If I am looking for something more than I can get, then I will become frustrated, and so will the kid. That builds up to a point where I won’t want to try, and neither will the kid.

Another important point with the idea of TRYING is that putting effort into something has more value than accomplishing the thing. That may sound wrong, but there is so much value in it, and this lace lesson illustrates that. Two of the three boys didn’t want to even try to tie the laces because their egos were hung up on winning the donut. They felt that to win the donut they needed to tie the laces, and when they felt they couldn’t, they gave up. I need to build into their brains the scripts that will allow them to TRY to do the thing.

Over time, as they progress, as they gain confidence in putting in the effort, then I can change the messaging. There are times right now where I can simply tell my 6-year-old that he has to try just because trying is the important thing. He will then try. The PROCESS of trying is where he learns what he is capable of. THAT is the value.

If you build this, let me know how it goes.

Share Your Thoughts