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Shoes for Your Baby

Does your child hate shoes? Making babies wear their shoes is definitely not child's play.

Somebody once said, "The one thing children wear out faster than shoes is parents". Indeed, if your baby has recently started walking, you probably share the feeling. Your baby walks with tender feet on surfaces that have all sorts of dangerous objects such as broken glass, nails, dirty water, mud, etc. Many babies throw or lose their shoes. As a parent, how do you ensure that your child wears good quality shoes?

Shoes or Barefoot?

If your baby refuses to wear shoes, do not fret. There is nothing abnormal about being barefoot. What is abnormal is forcing him to wear shoes. Your baby's feet are constantly developing, and going barefoot is the best way to strengthen foot muscles and promote balance. Paediatricians recommend that children up to the age of two go barefoot. Many parents mistakenly believe that babies who wear shoes learn to walk faster. No research has been able to validate this belief.

Here are some tips:

  • Allow your baby to be barefoot as much as possible at home.
  • Encourage your barefoot baby to experience different surfaces such as grass, marble, and sand but supervise him closely.

What Type of Shoes?

Choose shoes that almost simulate the feeling of being barefoot. Some tips for you to consider before buying:

  • Avoid shoes with a hard sole. Contrary to what is commonly believed, hard-soled shoes do not provide firm support. Shoes with a thin, soft sole help your baby to feel the ground. They also learn how to grasp with their toes as they walk.

  • Buy shoes of a lighter material for your child's comfort and feet development. Leather or canvas shoes are more suitable than synthetic shoes, as they promote circulation of air. Synthetic shoes are best avoided unless the situation demands it, such as rainfall.

  • Before buying, try bending the shoes it to check its flexibility. Flexible shoes aid free movement that is necessary while walking.

  • Slip the shoes on your baby's feet and let him walk. A good flexible shoe will crease slightly, especially at the sides and near the mouth of the shoe.

  • Avoid trying to make a fashion statement. Your toddler's comfort should be the main consideration while buying shoes. Those stylish huge cowboy boots might look good on your baby, but are certainly not good for his feet.

  • Avoid shoes with high heels, as they are particularly bad for the feet and cause a range of foot problems.

  • Choose the right size. Tight shoes can severely confine the natural growth of your baby's feet. Very large shoes will easily come off.

My Baby Does Not Like Shoes

Your baby's ability to walk develops around the same time as the development of his individuality. Parents force their baby to wear shoes, but the little one often has a mind of his own, which he demonstrates by removing them. He probably views shoes as a foreign object, and not part of his body. What results is an unending power struggle between the hapless parents and the baby. How can you avoid this?

  • Make wearing shoes an event: Make wearing shoes a fun thing to do. Sing, dance, laugh, clap, praise, and entertain the child while you slip a shoe on his foot.

  • Avoid negative association: If you yell, shout, frown, or hit, your baby is likely to view wearing shoes as something unpleasant. Smile instead.

  • Avoid force: Your baby is now an individual, and will respond by asserting his independence when you use force.

  • Lead by example: Your baby will try to imitate adults around him. Wear your own shoes first to show that shoes are not so bad after all.

  • Let him choose: Your baby probably has his favourite shoes by now. Encourage him to make his own choice and put them on himself, if possible. Reserve colourful shoes for those special trips, such as a trip to the park.

Do you believe that toddlers should wear shoes? What baby shoes are the best? How do you make your child wear them? To share your experiences and tips, click here.

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