Be it bunny ears or the around the bend and over the bridge method, it takes about 300 steps to tie a single shoe.
I know what you are thinking, there is no way it takes 300 steps… and you would be right. Physically, it only takes 28 steps, but the neuron communications needed to complete the act totals a whopping 300. Just imagine you are programming a robot, you would have to punch in 300 lines of instructional code to have just one completely tied shoe.
So why am I telling you this? Because thirty years ago, the average age a child learned to tie their shoes was four years old. Now it’s eight years old! Right?! Eight! What changed in the last 30 years and why is this so important?
One word. Velcro. To be fair it wasn’t just Velcro. Kid shoe fashion started switching to slip-ons and buckles— think uncomfy Jellies, penny loafers and docksiders. However, Velcro’s patent expired in the early 1980’s resulting in the ubiquitous adoption of the modern fastener, particularly in 80’s and 90’s kid kicks.
On to the second question, “Why is this important?” Well, some amazing math skills develop by moving a few laces around. When your little one is making those bunny ears, they are developing the spatial awareness their brain will be using in the future— particularly in understanding math concepts.
The brain benefits don’t end there— Cross-lateral integration (you remember, the skill they learned as a crawler) is absolutely crucial to mastering reading and writing.
Wrangling those unruly laces into a bow also carries with it some important benefits for a kid’s emotional development— from gaining independence to establishing self-confidence and grit.
So while it may take you a few extra minutes to get out of the house, consider the distance that 300 steps can take your little one through life— one step at a time.