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.

Parenting Level: Boss

A friend of mine said this about his father in a Facebook post. This father should teach classes and we should listen.

Are You Sure That’s Bullying?

“When we fail to distinguish between bullying and ordinary meanness, we trivialize the very serious cases of peer abuse,”

–Eileen Kennedy-Moore

Here’s a link to an interesting article from the Washington Post: Not all unkindness is bullying. Here’s why we need to teach kids to differentiate. by Braden Bell.

In this article the author discusses witnessing students in his classes develop differently as a result of their parents being too quick to label negative behaviours as bullying.

Here’s a summary of the ideas, but go check it out in full:

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Mother’s Day

One Day Is Not Enough

Almost 3 years have passed since my beautiful wife delivered her first child (my third). a sweet little boy. In that short time he has grown into the happiest little guy I’ve ever seen. He is affectionate, sensitive, very bright, observant, strangely obedient, and of course he has more energy than the sun!

Thinking about how he is developing so well really strikes me and I find myself in awe, daily. Clearly it is not my doing! There are certain circumstances required for a child to reach his potential, such as being guided through life by someone who shows him love, affection and kindness all day, every day. He needs someone to give him firm boundaries, to read to him (in two languages, no less), to explore his world with him, to teach him manners and right from wrong. Someone who places more importance on his well-being than their own personal interests. Someone with the patience to hold him while he cries for hours on end, for seemingly no reason.

That person isn’t me, even though this is my 3rd time around the block. The only person who fits this description is Mamá. She does this without enough sleep, without any experience, and without complaint. One day isn’t enough.

¡Feliz día de las Madres!