The first independent steps are very important moments in the life of a child and parents. Many people wonder whether the toddler should walk in special shoes or barefoot. In this article we will present arguments in favor of barefoot is a better solution for the health and motor skills of toddlers
Feet of small children consist mainly of cartilage – their skeletal system is not yet fully developed. From the moment of birth, an infant learns a whole range of skills that prepare it for the future learning to walk. Parents usually have to wait until they are one year old to take their first steps
How does a baby’s foot develop?
From the moment of birth, children’s feet are developing and shaping to become a stable connection between the little person and the ground around their first birthday. During this time, parents should provide optimal conditions for development: freedom of movement, adequate stimulation, and later the first shoes. At home the child should walk barefoot or in non-slip socks. And for walks, especially on cold days, it is worth to buy appropriate shoes in a specialist store with the first shoes for toddlers
Benefits of barefoot walking
- Gives a sense of stability
Walking barefoot teaches the toddler to absorb shocks caused by still uncertain steps. By balancing on the ground – to which the bare feet are better attached – the child learns to balance faster. This is a good way to reduce the number of falls. It also has a positive effect on developing the child’s body awareness
- Strengthens immunity
As soon as the child learns to walk, he immediately begins to use the skills he has acquired and learns about the world from a different perspective. During his micro-trips, he often changes the ground on which he marches. From soft carpet to hard tiles to the cold and ticklish grass in the garden. Changing the temperature of the ground is a factor that hardens the child’s body and has a positive effect on its immune system. The body accustomed to changes will more easily cope with winter and autumn temperature drops. Thanks to that, if the child’s feet get cold, it does not have to end with a cold.
- Ensures proper foot function
Learning to walk and take the first steps is a huge – even revolutionary – change in the life of a child. It requires from the infant a lot of effort and coordination. Initially, the toddler tests its own abilities by tensing the muscles, curling toes, flexing feet. The best way to provide the child with adequate space for such exercises is not to restrain its movements. Thanks to barefoot walking the toddler can have a better contact with the ground
- Stimulates nerve endings
Feet are an extremely well innervated space – there are more than 70 thousand nerve endings on them. Children who have the opportunity to touch various surfaces with their bare feet – such as pebbles, sand, sun-warmed tiles, grass or fluffy carpet – experience a wonderful massage. This, in turn, directly translates into beneficial internal organ function
- Exercises feet
Walking barefoot has a positive effect on the formation of the foot arch, strengthens muscles and ligaments, thus preventing flat feet. Children who spend a lot of time barefoot, less often fall down, because they have developed the habit of walking even on uneven surfaces. This also promotes the proper development of muscles, which become stronger. Another advantage is the fact that without shoes we walk more gently, taking softer and shorter steps, which has a beneficial effect on the work of knees and joints
- Improves the child’s contact with nature
Walking barefoot on grass, leaves and wooden floors positively influences a child’s sensory experience. The different surfaces make them more sensitive to change, the nature around them and their connection with nature. And this can affect emotional development and sensitivity to beauty
Read also: Reusable diapers – hit or putty?