- Few children master the art before the age of six
- Some have difficulty tying their own laces by ten
- Girls are able to tie their laces before boys
As the nursery rhyme goes, one, two, buckle my shoe.
But while today’s children may be whiz kids on their Playstations and iPhones, they no longer know how to tie their shoelaces.
A new report shows that few youngsters master the art before the age of six.
And some even have difficulty tying their own laces when they get to nine or ten years old, with fancy Velcro straps and buckles being blamed.
According to online retailer Littlewoods.com, the findings demonstrate a major shift in social habits.
But changes in shoe design and footwear fashions means the skill is no longer essential until much older.
Littlewoods.com Retail Director, Gary Kibble said: ‘Today’s children now learn how to operate complex technology long before they know how to tie shoe laces.
‘They understand navigation paths and algorithms – yet still don’t know how to make a knot.’
She added: ‘The enormous popularity of slip on shoes and those with Velcro straps has reduced the necessity to learn how to tie laces.
‘Children are now able to get themselves ready just that little bit faster with a simple buckle or fastener.’
In fact, many nursery schools now insist on every child wearing shoes with Velcro straps to save staff time – even when some children already know how to wear tie on shoes.
Sales figures from the online retailer show that slip on children’s shoes and those with Velcro straps now dominate the children shoe market until the age of six.
And styles such as Ugg boots, ballet pumps, sandals and Crocs dominate the mini fashion charts, with traditional lace up styles now confined to trainer, Converse and a few traditional school style shoes.
The popularity of laced up shoes increases slowly at seven, they found, a and begins to accelerate when children reach eight years old.
Shoes with laces only become universally popular between the ages of nine and ten, when many children are playing sports seriously for the first time.
Laces are often regarded as essential for sports wear, and footballers depend upon them to grip and spin the ball as it is kicked.
However, girls tend to master the art of shoe tying around one year before boys.
Littlewood sales figures show that, out of the top selling 100 pairs of girls and boys shoes sized between 10 and 3, just one is a formal lace up shoe.
The others are either slip on styles, have Velcro straps or are sports plimsolls and trainers.
Mr Kibble added: ‘Teaching children how to tie their shoelaces used to be a job for mums in the home.
‘Nowadays, both parents often have to work, and so it quite understandable why few hard pressed mums and dads can spare the time to hold lessons in shoelace tying before dashing to catch a train.’