Barefoot babes

Shoes are good for kids, right?  Wrong!  Here’s why you should take their shoes off today!

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I remember when my first born started walking.  I was so worried about doing everything right… you know, as everyone does with their first child!  So we got him the best shoes we could find.  With arch support and padding of course.  We strapped them on, and our previously very mobile toddler, could barely walk a step without falling.  When he stopped falling, he looked like those puppies that have boots on.  What was going on?

We did not know then, what we know now.  Shoes have no benefit for small children, other than protecting them from injury.  For example, stepping on glass.

Shoes can actually weaken the muscles of your child’s foot, and damage their structure.

Children that do not wear shoes, have been shown to have better arches, and stronger feet.

Going barefoot, also allows your child to gather sensory data from their feet.  They would not be able to feel the grass, moisture from the soil, or temperature with shoes on.

They also are less able to develop their gross motor skills, because wearing shoes alters their natural balance.

What do we do now for shoes?

Our smallest kids wear Robeez as long as possible, when they aren’t able to be barefoot.  For my oldest, we just started buying Vivo Barefoot shoes and we are in love!  The shoes are very cool looking, which was a major concern for my oldest.  He reports they are his most comfortable shoes ever.  They have been good for playing sports, when shoes are necessary.  The shoes are also very minimal.  (In case you’re wondering, I have no sponsorship deal with either company mentioned in this post).

Do yourself and your little one a favour today, go outside without shoes!

 

Much of the information is from one of my all time favourite books, Balanced and Barefoot Angela J. Hanscom.

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Pooping in the forest

Forest School How-to guide

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Forest School

“Oh no, you are not going to post about that!!!?”

When taking young children into the forest for longer periods of time, at some point, someone is going to have to poo, when you aren’t anywhere near a bathroom.

Honestly, hearing about forest kindergartens or forest schools, pooping in the forest was my very first big question…. I can’t be the only one!

My tips:

1. Everyone must go to the bathroom before we leave, whether or not you need to.

2. I aim for about 2 hours of forest play, before we head back in for bathrooms.

But inevitably someone will have to poop 10 minutes into your forest playtime.  So what are you to do?

3. Take the unfortunate child to as private a spot as possible… with the baby… So semi-private.  As far from the trail as you can, for etiquette’s sake.

4. Either find a good log for them to hang over, like a toilet.  But some kids hate sitting on a log because it might be wet, rough or cold,

So instead,

Spend a few minutes practicing a solid squat… you do not want to be using leaves to wipe up legs and pants because they fell over or got it everywhere.  Enough said?  I think so.

5. We use leaves to wipe… but feel free to use Kleenex… but be kind and take the tissues with you.

6. Some people bring a trowel and dig a hole, and cover it with dirt, because it may attract animals.

OR

When we are hiking in forested, but mainly urban areas, I have them “go” close to a log or rock.  Sometimes urgency also dictates whether or not we have time to dig a hole.

6. Then put rocks or logs or leaves over and around it, so no one accidentally steps in it before it has a chance to decompose.

Parents, have courage.  Taking your kids into nature is worth the trouble of dealing with the occasional poop outside!