Bare feet….my trio love having them!! But why, as grown ups do we tend to shy away from letting them do it? Conformity? Our adult brains weighing up the consequences of dirt and injury? Why do we stop it so much when it leads to a child feeling so free and less encumbered? As my little lady says, she “loves sinking her toes into chocolately mud”!!! I now bite my tongue and let them get on with it (within reason…I’m not about to let them trundle over areas with broken glass or anything!). Let me see if I can persuade you too with the following seven reasons 🙂
1. Our feet used to be just fine walking bare. Shoes can change how they function, and also damage them, as well as have knock on effects on ankles, hips, knees, and backs. Going with bare feet allows the feet to develop the way they are meant too.
2. It’s a sensory experience and makes children happy to experience all the pleasure from that. My children love squishing and squelching the mud through their toes. They like warm soft grass to tickle their toes and they can feel it like a bouncy cushion. They love feeling warm sand on their bare feet, and wetness from puddles.
3. Going with bare feet increases the body’s and foot’s strength. We worry about injury and illness to the feet, but in fact going without shoes can aid us prevent these more (within reason!). Increasing the foot’s strength can prevent injury, and toughening up of the skin of the foot can give it more protection. In fact, shoes provide the perfect environment to grow and trap more fungus and bacteria.
4. Going with bare feet helps proprioception (spacial orientation from stimuli), and also vestibular development. It is due to the direct connection between the child (via their feet) and the terrain they are walking on. How many times has your child tripped over due to their footwear? Footwear can hinder our nervous pathways and we gain more of them from having bare feet.
5. You can feel connection with nature more 🙂 I am a big one for wanting children to connect to nature more, for reasons I go into more depth elsewhere on the blog.
6. Children feel freer…..anything’s possible when you feel free and less encumbered. Life is more enjoyable with a feeling of freedom!
7. It’s a researched and proven stress buster!! So, what are you waiting for, kick off those shoes and socks and get out there and enjoy a bare feet life with your little people 🙂 We have a lot to learn from them!