My youngest son entered kindergarten this year, and my husband and I felt it was time he learned to tie his shoelaces. We started with our older son when he was about six months younger than our youngest is now. It took six months to teach him how to do it, so we figured waiting until he was older might help our younger son, though we anticipated it would still take many months of training.
We started practicing about a month ago, having him untie his shoelaces. Then we moved to showing him how to tie them. We took baby steps in showing him how to do it being methodical in our approach. First you make an “x” with the laces, then put one lace over the other and pull it through. I wrestled with whether to continue with the bunny-ears-finding-the-bunny-hole method, or wrapping one lace around your finger and pushing the shoelace with your thumb, to complete the knot. I was trying to figure out what would be easiest for my son to learn. I thought he might struggle and wanted to ease him into this new task.
It took my son about three weeks to master tying his shoelaces. After my attempts to teach him the bunny ear method were unsuccessful, I shared my struggles with his teacher. She listened to what I said, and then took my son aside. She showed him to wrap the lace around his thumb and index finger using a cleaver method. She said, “Superman has to orbit the Earth to get Lex Luthor.” She pointed to my son’s thumb and said, “Where is Lex Luthor?” to which my son responded by pointing to his thumb. She continued, “In order for Superman to get Lex Luthor, he is going to have to push his way to him.” She showed him how to push the lace through to make a bow. He proceeded to mimic her exact instructions, and presto my son is now an expert shoelace tier. He was so proud of himself. It was great to see my son gain confidence in his own capabilities.
As I thought about this, I realized my son was more capable than I was giving him credit for, and I also was reminded that there are many other parents out there that have really creative ways to teach kids. I’m glad I was there to see this and learn from my son’s teacher. I was also glad to learn about my son’s super power (him gaining confidence in his own abilities is a super power to me). I know he has great potential like any child does, and I need to help him discover his.
What are your child’s super powers? How are you helping them discover theirs?