This morning I took a step back and watched my six-year-old son as he was getting ready for school. I was overcome with the feeling that these past two months have been transformational for him. He is of course, my oldest and has gone through every major milestone first. His latest has been tying his shoes. I have noticed with many children that there are always small steps and accomplishments, but then every few months there is a big leap. My oldest has been going through a big leap these last few weeks. Tying his shoes was a big accomplishment and one not only I was very proud of, but I could see it made him feel like a "big kid".
As with all stages of growth it takes patience and self-control for parents to step back and not intervene when their child is learning something new. With tying his shoes, I spent two days showing my son how to do it twice a day. He watched and he tried it with me. After that, I had to stand back and let him try. It was not easy and he was frustrated at times, but he did eventually get it and within one week he was tying like a pro! He even does double knots now.
There are many things my boys are able to do that fellow parents have asked me about and wanted to know how I got the kids started on it. Whether it is learning to put away the dishes, pouring a glass of milk, buttoning up a shirt or buckling into the car, the approach is the same; show your child how to do it, have them practice a few times with you, and then let them try without parent intervention. The last step is always the hardest and needless to say, there has been split milk on the floor, but my children have eventually picked up all of these tasks.
I encourage parents to look at their growing children and challenge them to try something new. Children love to be able to do what their parents do. A four-year-old can definitely help with dusting the house or sweeping the floor. You may even find these activities to be more enjoyable if you have a little helper with you. Make the activity fun and let your child make mistakes.
I thought we would never get past the velcro strap shoes, and now my son is tying his shoes. What's next I wonder?
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