Does A Child Need To Know How To Tie A Bow?
By Sybrina Durant
In the world we live in today, does it matter if a child never learns to tie the laces on their shoes? There are so many choices of foot wear that don’t require laces, after all. Conceivably, children need never bother to even learn the complex process of tying a bow with string or ribbon.
For my generation, learning to tie a bow in shoe laces was a badge of honor. It was even a grade on our elementary school report cards. It was an accomplishment that meant I was no longer dependent on my parents or someone older to perform that task for me. Upon learning bow-tying, I was suddenly independent.
Many parents, today, avoid trying to teach bow tying because the potentially related stress or drama is more than they have time for or are willing to deal with. It’s just too easy to fall back on Velcro or slip-ons. Some school districts have even gone so far as to forbid children in primary grades from wearing shoes with laces because of the time it takes away from teachers actually teaching. . .plus it is a safety issue to walk around with untied shoe laces. But bows are not strictly relegated to shoe laces. Reasons for learning to tie them and other types of knots run the gamut from improving problem solving abilities to pure fashion fun to some pretty important survival skills.
Tying a bow involves fine motor skills, using different muscles of the fingers, hands and arms. It requires eye hand coordination, which exercises and strengthens the brain, while learning. Although a seasoned shoe-lacer might have the muscle memory to allow them to perform the movements without looking, beginners must watch what their hands are doing. Tying a bow also develops something called bilateral coordination – meaning you must use both sides of your body while performing the looping and tugging movements. Ever try to tie a bow using just one hand? Young children with weak core muscles might still use one hand to balance themselves while sitting on the floor. This will definitely interfere with their ability to master shoe laces but it can be overcome by having the child sit with their back against a wall or couch for stabilization.
A problem-solving mindset is also required to complete the task. Tying a bow teaches how to follow a sequence and a pattern that requires complete focus and concentration. It is no surprise that the sense of liberty and the confidence gained from learning this type of skill can pave the way for a better cognitive and intellectual understanding of complex mathematical concepts. Ever heard of string theory?
There are many articles available for curious minds to read about the pitfalls of trying to learn to tie shoelaces. Not everyone will be successful in their attempts. Some may have problems with visual perception or spatial awareness. It could be helpful to consult with an Occupational Therapist at your child’s school in those cases. Even children who don’t find fine motor tasks challenging can benefit from playing games or doing exercises that build up the small muscles in their hands before tackling bow tying.
There are a lot of books and games available online that help improve manual dexterity and even for learning to tie knots and bows. Browse The Rabbit and The Fox Book Store on my blog to see some of the ones that I’ve managed to track down. You can also find my Cleo Can Tie A Bow book there.
And if you know someone who loves bows, visit my Girls Love Bows Gift Shop where you’ll find hundreds of bow-themed gifts.
Visit Dogs Mom Visits blog for lots more articles, interviews and book reviews.