Updated: Mar 9
Do you struggle to keep your little one’s shoes on their feet? Is it a daily fight to get your kids to wear shoes? If the answer is yes, you’re certainly not alone.
Kids love to go barefoot and it’s actually not a bad thing, providing they aren’t walking barefoot in dangerous environments, of course!
This is because there are a whole host of health and wellbeing benefits that come hand in hand with going barefoot, from developing core skills such as fine motor control and foot strength, through to kinaesthetic awareness and sensory stimulation.
After all, the soft grass beneath your feet, the sand between your toes, and smooth stones tickling the underside of the feet, can all create sensory experiences that will benefit your child in many different ways.
Here are some of the reasons you should let your child go barefoot…
Strengthens the Feet and Body
One of the best ways to strengthen and maintain the full function of your child’s feet and body is to allow them to walk barefoot in as many safe environments as possible. Barefoot playtime in particular is a great way to help the bones and muscles in your child’s body to develop and leads to proper musculoskeletal development. And, if your child develops strong feet and legs, this can also help to support their back.
Helps Kids Stay Safe
Many parents are reluctant to let their kids walk barefoot over fears that they will walk on a sharp object and hurt themselves. However, despite popular belief, walking barefoot can actually keep your kids safe!
How? Playing, walking, balancing, running and climbing barefoot can give your little ones more control, which means they are less likely to fall and hurt themselves. This is particularly the case if your child is participating in a balancing activity, as being barefoot can help them to maintain better balance and connection, whilst toughening the soles of the feet.
Better Foot Mechanics
Although a lot of children’s footwear can be incredibly supportive, some can actually impact your child’s foot movements.
With this in mind, in order to optimise better foot mechanics, you should encourage your child to walk barefoot as much as possible so that they are able to gain better control of their foot position. Walking barefoot can not only help to develop foot strength but also improve ankle stability.
A connection with nature
One of the best ways to form an instant connection with nature is to go barefoot and feel the earth beneath your feet!
Kids absolutely love exploring, discovering and learning about their surroundings and understanding how the ground feels not only increases their attention of the natural world, but it can also ignite their senses. For example, research has proven that when a child connects with nature - all five senses are fully engaged.
Stimulates Pressure Points
Finally walking barefoot offers children the ultimate sensory experiences, as their feet become accustomed with sensory experiences which are stimulated when a connection is formed with dirt, rocks, sand, water leaves, and twigs beneath their feet. This is because your little one’s feet are hard-wired with multiple pressure points and nerve endings that send a message to other parts of the body in order to stimulate nerve endings.
Happy Feet Play Mats are a great way to introduce barefoot play into your daily routine. Walking barefoot on our mats can have an immediate impact on posture, balance, and gait, while also supporting healthy foot development and boosting the connection between the foot and the brain.