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Amazing toddlers who can make their own breakfast!

Submitted by on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 No Comment

I am an awful, awful mom.

Just like thousands of other 2- to 5-year-olds worldwide, Boots cannot tie his shoes. He can’t make breakfast, though he can make quesadillas or Sunbutter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. He can’t ride a bike without training wheels. He can, however, swim unaided – he just likes to pretend that he can’t.

When Big Guy was 5, his skills were equally subpar. He was 6 before he learned to tie his shoes, ride his bike, swim or fix toast for breakfast.

But then,  I didn’t learn to tie my shoes, ride a bike or swim during my preschool years either, and that was back when “mouse” meant “rodent.” Technically, the guys and I skip a generation – chronologically I’m raising my grandchildren – so I suppose there might be an intervening set of people who didn’t suffer as my poor deprived children and I do. But I doubt it.

So what’s with all the hoo-ha from a study out of Amsterdam tsk tsking that parents teach Internet skills before “life skills”?

Strike that. The emphasis of the survey wasn’t on what “parents” teach. It was about what “mothers” teach – as if fathers are incapable of instructing kids in the fine arts of bike riding, shoe tying and toast burning. It appears that Amsterdam’s much-ballyhooed socially progressive attitudes extend only to drug policies and not parenting.

I’ll give the company – it’s an Internet security firm – the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was trying to point out the importance of teaching online safety at young ages. That’s not the way it came off, though. It gave the impression of being silly and hysterical.

Only 43 percent of 2-year-olds can ride bikes? I’m impressed. I bet most of them are European, where bike riding is more of a way of life than it is here.

More kids can open a Web browser than can swim unaided? That’s no surprise either. Opening a Web browser involves about two steps – three if you count recognizing an icon on a desktop. Swimming is a complicated mix of coordinating arms, legs and breathing, all the while staying afloat.

And tying shoes? That’s a series of loops and twists that much be performed in a precise order. Even children whose fine-motor skills are above average – and I’d put Boots in that category – take a while to master it.

If the company wants to make the point that we need to start teaching children about online safety earlier than we think we should, it should say that instead of reminiscing about the way things used to be – especially when things never were that way.

Copyright 2011 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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