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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Treasures in the forest

Our area had a big wind storm last weekend.  Many neighbours lost trees.  Many homes were damaged.  We were safe, but parts of our roof came off!

This morning, my littlest ones and I went for a stroll to check on the safety of our favourite trees.  The kids were worried that the squirrels homes and birds nest would be destroyed.

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Luckily, beyond a few broken branches, the kids were very happy to see all the squirrels and birds seemed to be in good shape.

While we were checking the forest though, we found our first Trilliums this season.  If you aren’t from Ontario, you may not know that Trilliums are a very big deal here.  It is actually illegal to pick one!

So I tried to grab a quick picture of the kids by the flowers.  But with all the excitement over the flowers, I was nervous the toddler might grab it…  He didn’t!  Phew.

A night in jail would not be the ideal way to spend this spring day for this lady.  I would love to hear about your spring treasures!

 

Scaling the walls to boost Gross motor skills

Use what you have!  We have a neat wall under a bridge.  It has big rocks, and a decent slant the kids can use to climb.

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Although nature always wins in my books, sometimes architecture can be fun to climb too!

 

Cold Rainy days for the outdoorsy

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Usually it doesn’t take much to get kids enjoying the outdoors.  However this week, it took a little incentive to get them out on a really cold day, in the rain…

However, a puddle, a hockey stick and some bubbles kept everyone busy as bees until they found a real project.  Which was of course, splashing in the biggest puddle and getting really really really muddy!

After a big romp in the rain (but mostly mud), we all snuggled up  by the fireplace and enjoyed hot chocolate.

Risky play boosts confidence and decision making ability

Let my three year old climb trees and rocks??  Without holding my hand?

It can be scary as a mother watching your 3 year old scramble up cliffsides, running along trails, climb trees or big rock formations.  However, I try to trust my children as much as possible, and encourage them to assess the challenge vs. their skill level.

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I will often ask them, “are you sure?” Or “is that branch/rock steady enough?”.  Sometimes I may even say, “what will happen if you step here?” To teach them to analyze the risks.

Allowing them the chance to scale new surfaces will improve their gross motor skills, also their confidence in themselves and their ability to reason whether something is or is not a good idea.

As moms, as much as we may wish to, we will not always be there to make decisions for our children.  We may be afraid to let them make decisions because of a perceived risk.  Instead of saying no, we should instead help our child learn to be safer while climbing.  We must prepare them to do think of these things independently.

Yes, this does extend much further than a discussion about tree climbing.

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I believe we must mother from a place of trust and not fear.  We need to provide children with opportunities to grow in their judgement in a relatively safe context, so they can practice making decisions independently.

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The decisions our children make will get much more complex as they get older.  So let’s start them on the way, by letting them decide what they will and won’t climb while out hiking.