I don’t know what to think

This topic came up over at that “other” blog and I dug a little deeper and came up with this. Over “there” it was really a discussion of kids not being able to their own shoes and some of the ages that were mentioned made me really feel parents are really lazy. They claim to be “busy” but really, I think tying is important. Not just for shoes but knots in general.

Both Jason and Toby learned to tie their shoes right around kindergarten. They didn’t have Velcro or slip ons and we couldn’t send them to school and expect the teacher to do all that tying. It was really unheard of. They had practice shoes with yarn laces and when they perfected it, they got to bring home a construction paper shoe with the laces tied in yarn and it was a really big deal.

But then when I found this article and saw what kids can and can’t do and it made me feel like where is childhood going? Kids can’t climb trees but they can operate a DVD player and computers.

Does any of this make you feel sad or do you think some of this stuff should fall by the wayside? Is some of it not important anymore?

I have so many people “brag” (for lack of a better word) about how smart their kids are that they can operate a Ipad or our computers yet some of them aren’t taught the basic lessons in life like this or making a piece of toast. You need to know how to tie and you should know how to feed yourself. A few minutes a day of practicing is all it would take.

I think everything is important to teach kids but I really think if your child can’t tie their shoes (or hats, sweatshirts, sweatpants) and they wear laces, you really are leaving it up to someone else when your child isn’t with you. That, to me, it lazy.

What do you think?

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20 Responses to I don’t know what to think

  1. Jenny says:

    Yes my son knows how to work the computer, dvd player, ipod, ect… but he also is super smart at other stuff! No we haven’t gotten around to learning how to tie yet. Although he was playing around with his strings on his pants and twirling them around and said look I just tied it! Hunter cooks food by himself (with my help, of course) & he loves washing the dishes. He can put on his jacket & zip it up by himself. He learned that all on his own. Before I go off buying shoes with laces, he needs to have the patience to unbuckle the ones he has now before jamming his fat feet in the shoes! 🙂

    • Joy says:

      Hunter is really on the young side too Jenny. Boys dexterity is a little slower coming than girls. Some of the kids being talked about today were as old as 13. Hunter is also eager to learn and he’s interested in learning. You also make it fun for him.

  2. skl1 says:

    As you probably guessed, I was “Anon” on that thread. I think kids need to be challenged, so I tend to be a “sooner rather than later” kind of mom, about most of those types of things. Since I could not find shoes with laces in the stores when my kids were 3, I searched and ordered them online. My kids were 3 and 4 when they mastered shoe tying.

    I too clicked on the list of things that UK kids could and couldn’t do between ages 5 and 13. It is a bit hard to comment given such a broad age range. To be honest, my kids can’t do most of the things on either list yet. They have never made a phone call, or even answered one properly, since we don’t use the land line. (I have already decided to remedy this in the near term, so they won’t be completely clueless.) They have never pitched a tent or helped to build a fire, and their tree climbing experience is limited. They do know how to use a DS and a DVD player.

    My kids will be having their first camping experience this coming summer, if all goes well. At that point, they will learn many things, I hope. I noticed that a lot of the things on the “can’t do” list are things my nephew had to do in scouts. So I think Boy Scouts is a good way to make up for the fact that kids just don’t do those things on their own any more, and I think 4H is also good for teaching down-to-earth skills and information. There are probably many kids who don’t have access to programs like that, but parents need to fill the gap somehow. I think it’s a no-brainer that technology is not an excuse to be ignorant about the basics. However, some people apparently think differently.

    My kids are “in” a lot of stuff, and don’t get a lot of time to just play around. They do learn a lot as we go to all kinds of museums and educational parks, read, travel, etc. Yet sometimes I wonder what is the right balance between practical, hands-on experience and being “exposed” without getting the hands dirty. And what is the best age for them to go hands-on with various stuff. I know that when I was their age, my life experiences didn’t go much beyond playing in our small backyard; and I ended up fairly capable. Still, I wonder.

    • Joy says:

      I noticed you today. All three of us were in on that one. That hasn’t happened in a long time.

      Also….the person who wrote the post titled it “My kid has more important things to do than learn to tie his shoes” and I think that kind of rubbed everyone the wrong way right off the bat. She then proceeded to state how she went one day to help one of her sons friends who was the same age, 8, but he told her he could tie his own shoes. So she then thought she was a slacker. I know that most of the time over “there” they state things like this to get people Stirred up!!

  3. Joy says:

    I also that I think it was a whole lot easier for those of us that had no other option. My kids tied their own shoes or I did. There were no options.

    I also think when a parent tries to teach a child something and the child says “I don’t want to” and the parent just says “okay,” just shouldn’t be the way to go. Sometime you just have to take that extra time. My kids would have learned or tried at anything if a trip to the Dairy Queen was the prize if they did. I’m just sayin’. Yes. I bribed. I still do.

    • skl1 says:

      I agree – a bribe is a great way to get them motivated to learn a new skill of this nature. And “I don’t want to” is simply not an option.

      One thing that rubbed me the wrong way in some of the comments was the “why make him do something hard when it will be easier once he’s older.” This seems to be part of an overall trend of protecting kids from having to “try hard.” What people seem to have forgotten is that it’s actually good for kids to have to “try hard.” In the long run, the most successful people are the ones who were challenged as kids. It seems like that should be obvious, shouldn’t it? I mean, you know that if you want to be strong or have stamina, you have to choose exercise over couch time, right? But when it comes to teaching kids, people seem to assume that time will correct for the lack of brain exercise. I’m not convinced.

      I also feel that “my kid has better things to do” was arrogant, particularly since the other side of that is “my kids’ teacher has nothing better to do than tie my kids’ stuff.” I know there is velcro and all, but sooner or later, the kid will need to have something tied.

  4. Laura says:

    Something that I’ve noticed, and I said this on the board: SO many of those things that we had when we were kids don’t exist anymore. Tie shoes for kids are one. I am just now starting to find shoes that are Josh’s size that have laces. EVERYTHING is velcro. Sweatshirts don’t have strings anymore – choking hazard. Same with pants. Sweats do NOT have drawstrings (so Josh had to go without sweats for a long time, to because he’s a peanut. Long legs, but very skinny around the waist and butt. Sweat pants wouldn’t stay up!). So the whole shoe-tying thing kind of fell by the wayside. The only thing lace-up he’s worn, ever, has been ice or roller skates, and I still do those up, because we don’t do it enough for him to learn how to do it so they’re tight enough.

    Some of the things he CAN do? He regularly makes meals for us. And not just boxed mac & cheese, either. His favorite to make is Cheeseburger Salad, although he’s made pancakes, tacos, fajitas and chicken nuggets (from scratch). Put up a tent with assistance, since our tent is HUGE. Build a fire. Bait and de-fish a hook. Drive a boat. Wrestle. Roundhouse kick. Break a board with his bare hand, or bare foot in a flying side-kick. Answer the land-line and take a proper message. And he can identify the blackbird (grackel), sparrow, and robin. As well as about 8 other birds.

    So I don’t feel bad. I do feel bad for some of those kids whose parents don’t think those skills are important though. There’s a difference between not knowing how to do something because the opportunity isn’t there, and not providing a valuable experience because parents just don’t want to.

  5. mssc54 says:

    My gut is there is a difference in parents who want to get their kids all the latest, greatest toys or gadgets and parents who want to get their kids educational toys to help them developed.

  6. Nikki says:

    Oh, boy! This drives me NUTS!!!

    It was never a choice to learn to tie his shoes, for Bailey. He needed to know how to, before he went to Kindergarten. Just like he learned how to drink out of a normal cup, and not a sippy cup! I’ve seen 3,4,5 year olds still drinking out of sippy cups. In my opinion, sippy cups should be used only as a transition cup, to regular ones. Not to be used for years. But it’s easier to give them one, and not sorry about spills, and to throw on Velco shoes. By the time they are in Kindergarten, they should be tying their shoes, drinking out of cups, and wiping their own butts!

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with young children knowing how to use electronics, but they should never come before the very basics they should know. If a 5 year old knows how to operate an Ipad, but can’t tie his shoes, that’s a problem in my eyes.

    • Jenny says:

      ok this may be a little tmi, but Nikki brought it up!! ok mom’s, how do you get your child to wipe? Hunter refuses, and I honestly think his arms are too short. So any tips? LOL 😀

      • Nikki says:

        LOL I stared out using wet wipes. It was easier for him to do a CLEAN job. Bailey would yell for me to come wipe his butt, and I got so tired of it, I would leave him be. He’d yell and yell for me, but eventually got tired and he did it himself. Hunter won’t be great at it, at first, but he’ll get it. It takes practice.

      • skl1 says:

        Ha, this is not one of the things my girls did early! Miss E was willing, but she is a slob so I usually followed up with her until she was about 4. Miss A wanted it done right, but she would take forever to do it (after already taking forever to go #2) and I just couldn’t stand around all day waiting for Princess Putz.

        Finally when they were 4, I put my foot down and insisted on no more “mommy wipe my butt” calls and no more skid marks! I felt 4 was old enough, and that the pre-K or KG teacher should NOT EVER have to be asked “wipe my butt”! At one point I had to threaten a consequence re skid marks, which worked (imagine that). As for Miss A, it’s a matter of me being patient. Lord, that girl is slow, but can I blame her for wanting to ensure a clean butt?

        I have hard the “arms too short” comment before. It perplexes me. Does he try bending his backbone? How does he scratch an itch? How does he undo a wedgie?

        I think the hard part of this is leaving yuckiness up to chance a little bit. Just remember, they can always wash their hands afterwards. Practice makes perfect – eventually.

      • Joy says:

        I’m with Nikki. 4 is young but if you feel you want him to do it, it’s a learned thing and you have to teach him or just leave him sitting there. He won’t want to just sit there. Don’t let him have the iPod or anything though. That would defeat the purpose. I would start with wipes and it will be messy at first but lets just say, what if he were at preschool? Certainly the teacher wouldn’t do it. My kids were in preschool when they were 4 so they just had to. Undies were sometimes gross but that’s just the way it is at first and really, for a long time. But if you’re not ready to start, don’t. You hate to start and then give in because then it turns into a power struggle.

        • Jenny says:

          we do the flushable wipes. And he complains that he doesn’t like toilet paper when we go someplace else. I guess it will just take time and patience on my part of saying I’m not going to do it anymore. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂 I appreciate it

      • Joy says:

        OH LOL!! When I was replying, nobody else but Nikki had yet. I was thinking what Michael mentioned about flush-able wipes but I still wouldn’t flush them where we are with a septic system. I’d maybe get him his own cute garbage and have him put them in that. He’ll plug the toilet for sure with paper too! Mine did it enough times in MTKA!!

      • Joy says:

        I’ll also guarantee his arms are long enough. I’ll bet if he were getting stung by something on his butt he’d be able to reach it.

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