It is good for your toddler to walk around barefoot as much as possible (of course, take into account safety and cleanliness!). Current studies show that when walking barefoot, the soles of the feet act as an extra sensory organ. It helps the child to perceive subtleties in surface textures and temperatures and making tiny adjustments in movements based on the information received which in turn help form balance and posture. Walking barefoot allows a child to undergo a rich sensory experience whether indoor and out. For a baby or toddler just learning to walk and run walking barefoot can also help to strengthen foot muscles and develop the right foot posture for the development of muscles higher up in the body.
Here are some tips to make sure that your child walks barefoot more often:
- Let your child walk barefoot when he is indoors. If your child prefers to wear something on his feet, at least take his shoes off and let him walk around in his socks.
- Create opportunities for him to walk barefoot on outside surfaces. Let him experience walking on sand, grass, large pebbles, smaller pebbles and even in mud.
- Play some barefoot games. Sit on the floor opposite your toddler with your legs and his legs spread in a V position and your feet touching. Touch your toes, soles and heels in turn then push with your feet onto his, while telling him to do the same.
If you need shoes for going outside, here are a few things to consider:
- Don’t allow your toddler to wear the same shoes or the same type of shoes everyday.
- Buy good quality shoes made from natural materials.
- Toddler shoes should be soft and flexible and have a low heel.
Enjoin your child to walk barefoot by walking barefoot yourself when you are at home. You can even join him in the outside fun and let the mud curl through your toes too!