A new report has found that whilst children are now able to use complicated hi-tech gadgets at increasingly young ages, the age at which children learn to tie their laces has become later than ever before.
The research shows that few children master the skill before the age of six, whilst some still have difficulty at the ages of nine or ten. This represents a major shift in social habits, as thirty years ago the ability to tie laces was a skill to be learnt by the age of four.
This change in social habits is partially due to changes in shoe design and footwear fashions, meaning that the skill is no longer essential until the child is older. Shoes with laces only become popular around the age of ten, a time which is linked with children beginning to play sports for the first time.
Sales figures for children’s shoes corroborate these findings, with slip on and Velcro strapped shoes dominating the market until the age of six. Out of the top selling 100 pairs of girls and boys shoes between a size 10 and a size 3, only one is a formal lace up shoe.
“The enormous popularity of slip on shoes and those with Velcro straps has reduced the necessity to learn how to tie laces and children are now able to get themselves ready just that little bit faster with a simple buckle or fastener” says Gary Kibble, retail director of Littlewoods.com, “Many nursery schools now insist upon every child wearing shoes with Velcro straps to save staff time – even when some children already know how to wear tie on shoes.”
The results is that many children leave primary school unable to tie their own shoes, with the job of teaching them often falling to sports coaches or Year Five or Six teachers.
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Published 14th January 2014