With March giving us our last bit of sunshine for the year its the perfect time to get out and feel the earth under our toes…literally.
Unlike an adult who has already built the brain pathways to walk and talk, a baby has an undeveloped brain and must learn to do this through experince. We often only think of the brain sending messages down to our body to control it, yet in reality it relies on information going back up into the brain as well. Each time you hug, hold, feed, laugh and talk to your child, you’re creating new brain connections – this is what drives their development
For a child to learn to walk and to develop proper arches in their feet an array of new connections in the brain must take place. As new brain centres develop and immature ones disappear,the child will begin to weight bare without thier toes curling in.We start to see a baby ‘cruising’ around furniture by around 10-11months. The more time a baby has on various surfaces such as carpet, tiles, floorboards, grass, sand or concrete then the more information that is being sent into the brain to tell them about it and how their feet might be able to hold up on that particular surface.
Consider how tricky this could be in a child that is constantly in shoes, particularly those which are thick soled and overly structured??
The more exposure your baby has to the ground in bare feet then the better their brain development to sense the world around them and the more likely they are to have good balance, awareness and foot development.
Here are our top tips for developing great feet for great balance & walking!!
- Get their shoes off (and socks) as much as possible
- Try walking around various surfaces such as grass, sand, on cushions, carpet, tiles, dirt..the more the better! (always make sure the surface is free from sharp and dangerous objects)
- Avoid thick soled shoes in children – the less structured the sole, the more their brain can interpret the ground and the less their feet and arches have to cave in to perceive the surface
- Kids LOVE massage – try gently (yet also firmly) squeezing and massaging the foot and legs of a child, it’s sending messages into the brain for more cortical development and is also good for calming a nervous system down