From the moment our babies start to walk, most parents are keen to protect their precious feet with socks and booties.
But now experts are telling parents to not be so quick to cover up their little one’s tootsies.
A recent study has revealed that walking barefoot is actually beneficial for a child’s development.
Ditching the footwear can make your baby smarter
Babies put things in their mouth to taste them and like this, touching things – with their hands and feet – is a great way for them to learn about the world around them.
Chiropractor Dr. Kacie Flegal says that walking barefoot often helps improve the development of two sensory systems – the proprioceptive system (your body’s motion and positioning) and the vestibular system (balance and coordination).
In order for these systems to develop as best as possible, it’s a good idea to let your kids walk with their shoes off, as Kacie says feet are equipment with many sensory cells.
Keeping your baby barefoot helps improve the development of their sensory systems
“Proprioception is the ability to perceive the motion and position of our bodies in space and is generated by receptors located within our joints, connective tissue, and muscles. When activated by pressure and movement, proprioceptors send direct signalling to the brain telling it how the body is oriented,” Kacie tells Natural Child Magazine.
“The vestibular system is the creation of balance and coordination as changes in center (sic) of gravity, posture, and head position shift.
“As babies gain awareness through the five primary senses, they begin generating deliberate movements and gradually learn to hold up their heads, roll over, sit up, crawl, and eventually start walking.”
“Allow your child to play in grass and dirt”
Kacie adds that while we want to protect our children from cold or harsh environments and keep them safe, we should encourage play in grass, dirt or even wet leaves.
“As babies begin to walk, they are accustomed to having limited movement and a barrier between the sensitive soles of their feet and the ground,” she says.
“As a result, you will permit them a great platform for the development of higher brain centers (sic) responsible for emotional control, problem-solving, language, social skills, and self-assurance.”
Kacie reveals another benefit to keeping babies barefoot is the encouragement of presence of mind and conscious awareness.
“As the little pads of babies’ feet feel, move, and balance on the surface that they are exploring, the information sent to the brain from tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular pathways quiet, or inhibit, other extraneous sensory input,” she adds.
“This creates focus and awareness of walking and moving through space; babies get more tuned in to their surroundings.”
In other words, ditch the fancy footwear and let your little ones roam free in wildlife (with your watchful supervision over them, of course).
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