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.

Jocko Willink on Parental Leadership – You Can’t Help Your Kids

Skip Ahead

Go ahead and watch/listen to the entire video, it is best to get it all in the proper context. But, if you’re in a hurry, here are some shortcuts to key points:

Ben: What’s the #1 thing you look for in a leader?
Jocko: Take Ownership (of the problem) @ 15:56

Ben: Are there times where you just HAVE to “chew someone out”?
Jocko: There are very few occassions @ 19:36

Ben: What do you do with kids (the challenges)?
Jocko: You gotta give’em guidance, but you have to let them brush up against the guardrails of failure @ 21:18
This is where Jocko discusses NOT helping your kids.

Jocko: Your kids aren’t going to be who you want them to be…
They’re gonna be who they ARE @ 24.37.

After this point the focus is less on kids and more on leadership, so go ahead and check it out.

Parenting Tip: Don’t BE the Bully

Kids going to school in the 80s and 90s did not get the same exposure to “bullying” as kids do now. The bully back then was a real stand-out kid, the stereotypical macho, hyper-aggressive, low-intellect, unhygienic, knuckle-dragging waste of human flesh. Well, that’s I looked at them.

The Bullying Paradox

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How to Parent – Intro for No0bs

NSFW & NSFK – Astonishing Parenting Fails

I thought this was going to be a cute video full of silly parenting mistakes. I was so wrong. This video shows some of the worst parenting moves out there. Don’t watch it at work, nor in front of kids.

20 Activities to do With Your Kids Other Than Watch TV

Almost half of kids spend at least two hours a day watching TV. While this may sound harmless enough, numerous studies have come out showing that TV is definitely taking its toll on American children.

UPDATE: When I first posted this (8 years ago in 2010) TV still mattered. Now the cell phone is the mind-sucking device that plagues parents. This article is still valid, though.

For instance, a study in the April 2004 journal Pediatrics found that every added hour of watching TV increased a child’s odds of having attention problems at age 7 by about 10 percent. Those who watched for three hours a day between the ages of 1 and 3 were 30 percent more likely to have attention trouble at age 7 than those viewing no TV.

The notion that kids watch far too much TV is a no-brainer, literally. My strong recommendation is to minimize TV watching to no more than a few hours per WEEK, as a short attention span is only the beginning of the problem with TV. Here are some of the other negatives of kids watching TV:Read More »