BY TODD COLIN VAUGHAN
Courtesy of the Sylvan Lake News
Kirsten Johnson’s Internet fame started with an “epic mom fail.”
When her son Rylan, 7, was starting Grade 2 this year – Kirsten realized that she had forgotten to teach him to tie his shoes.
She quickly realized this needed to be remedied in order for Rylan to not fall behind others in his class. Unfortunately, as many parents experience, teaching children to tie their shoelaces can be a difficult experience.
“I first went to the traditional method because he is good with fine motor skills and it should be easy,” Kirsten said. “When I started teaching him, the walls went up and the tears were out. There’s almost no turning back at that point, he said he can’t do it, there’s a wall up and it was difficult.”
Kirsten needed to find a solution and she decided to turn to her own academic experience after graduating with a physical education major and working with children who had autism, Asperger’s syndrome and fine motor delays.
The tying method she learned then involves creating two traditional notes and pushing the ends of the laces through the small hole in between a knot; these created the traditional bunny ears.
Kirsten, after teaching Rylan very quickly, decided that this method could help other mothers and decided to post it to facebook live on her page Unstoppable Mother.
The views of this post have since grown to over 6 million, way above her usual response of 5,000 to 10,000.
“Every time we logged back in it was doubling and I did not expect this,” Kirsten said. “I thought I’d help some moms and friends – then it just went crazy.”
The story has since been featured by news stations across the world, including the Today Show and Kathy Lee.
“I was expecting to come home that night and go to my son’s hockey, do our typical things, then it changed really quickly,” Kirsten said. “It’s nice being able to do this with my son and him knowing that he is helping other kids. Seeing his self-esteem grow is really cool.”
Rylan, after learning this method and gaining confidence, was able to learn the traditional way of tying shoes in under five minutes the following week. Kirsten believes building that confidence is best thing for not only the kids, but for moms as well.
“It can be really hard for moms because you don’t want to see your child have low self-esteem or low confidence and I know a lot of women have struggled teaching this to their children,” Kirsten said.
“So to instill confidence right away and make them feel confidence and even say the words, ‘I can tie my shoes,’ that was really great.”
Rylan added that he loves helping and teaching other kids what he learned and that it was really fun to make the video with his mom.
Kirsten intends to continue to make videos helping moms and has already posted an anti-bullying video and other back-to-school related content.