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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Water Safety Tips

How do you keep kids safe when hiking near or through water?

We all want to make sure our kids stay safe.  So how do you balance teaching your children a healthy respect of the water, while still letting them enjoy the opportunities that water can provide?

  1. Check out the creek/river before bringing your children, it may help you plan for risks better.  For example, we only go to the creek when my just over 1 year old can stay with my husband, because he is curious, but not ready.
  2. Before unleashing your children in the water, review safety rules with them
  3. No children near the water without a grown up.  For us, one side of the trail is off limits because of cliffs and water.  So they are not allowed to go off the trail on that side without a grown up.
  4. Kids always stay close to the grown up when we are in or near water.
  5. Help them find ways to learn to use their own judgement about rock steadiness, or slipperiness.
  6. Look for spots where the water is shallower than your child’s knees.
  7. Be sure there is little to no current.
  8. Dress appropriately, for us on a warmer day in the winter, the kids wear full rain gear with elastic leg holes – over their snow suits, with lined rubber boots.
  9. Let them explore, there is so much to do at the creek!!

Fear for your child’s safety is natural.  However, if you don’t introduce some risky play to your young child, how will they learn to deal with fear.

Be safe about it, but with the right creek, water play is awesome.

Winter hike with tots

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Owen is learning how to walk in the snow covered branches, leaves and rocks.  Not an easy task for a 14 month old!  Although, soft and squishy footwear allows him to use his feet more effectively.

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Belle found a small creek, we stopped to play for about half an hour.  She poked it, threw things in it and finally dipped her boot in it.  She decided against a full soaker this time…. but she found a giant puddle down the trail, so don’t worry, she was able to get messy!

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After walking around and eating a tonne of snow, Owen fell asleep in the stroller.  This worked out great, because we didn’t have to rush home for nap time and got to play in the snowy forest even longer!