Why it’s time to ditch the shoes in nurseries
This is a very bold statement to make with many parents buying children their first pair of shoes before they are even walking, however, research is showing that wearing shoes may actually be doing more damage than good. Many feel children need a good pair of shoes to protect children’s feet and ankles as they grow however shoes are hindering muscle development and are causing problems for muscle development from toes right up to hips.
Shoes mean children’s feet have less contact with the ground they are walking on meaning toes are unable to stretch, foot arches aren’t as strong and well formed as they should be, and muscles in the legs and hips have a smaller range of movements. Poor fitting or supporting shoes such as flipflops are often the cause of many accidents, trips and slips for children as well as potentially causing damage to the soft bones that young children have.
What are the benefits to being barefoot?
Ditching the shoes has so many benefits and this is why here at earlyyearscareers.com we are urging practitioners to ditch children’s shoes and allow the children to explore and develop with bare feet as nature intended. To further support our argument here are some benefits to being barefoot:
- Toes grow straighter allowing children to better spread and push whilst walking improving balance and movement
- Stronger muscles on the feet again improving many gross motor skills
- Wider range of hip movement
- Improved flexibility in legs creating and improving children’s natural manner of walking.
- Sensory development – allowing children to directly feel what they are walking on allows stronger messages to be sent to the brain about exactly how is best to walk on certain types of surfaces. It is argued that shoes cloud these messages, and cause more accidents.
Concerns over barefoot
Some practitioners are concerned about allowing children to have bare feet in case of incidents such as fire alarms, slipping in water and messy play areas, stepping on toys such as lego and dropping scissors onto bare feet. It would be interesting to hear from nurseries who go barefoot as to how they overcome these concerns, so if you do this leave us a comment below.