Benefits of barefoot and dirt

by Sesame Lane Admin on 2/11/2017 10:39:54 AM
Have you ever picked your child up from a day at childcare and you have to chase them up to find their shoes? Only to whisper under your breath in frustration something along the lines of “why aren’t you made to wear your shoes?” Well Tracy Byrne, a podiatrist specialising in podopeadiatrics, claims that wearing shoes at too young an age can hamper a child’s walking and cerebral development, “toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot.” This is due to the feedback they receive from the ground, meaning that they have less of a need to look down, which can put them off balance and cause them to topple over.

She continues by saying “walking barefoot develops the muscles and ligaments of the foot, increases the strength of the foot’s arch, improves proprioception (our awareness of where we are in relation to the space around us) and contributes to good posture.

At Sesame Lane we require children to wear their shoes when arriving and leaving the building however, we encourage them to take them off during the day, especially during outside play and we do our best to make sure both shoes make it back into their backpacks, this is why it is important to clearly label their shoes.

A similar misconception surrounds kid’s playing in water or dirt outside. Often children will be in our community gardens or playing in sand and dirt, it’s time to step away from the antibacterial wash and wipes. Research has recently shown that playing the dirt is good for the children’s immune system, scientist in California have discovered that the bacteria on the surface of the skin plays an important role in combating inflammation when we get hurt.

In the warmer months we encourage water play, this not only helps the children keep cool when playing outside but, water play gives many opportunities to develop fine and gross motor skills across all age ranges, children will increase their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination  through actions like pouring, squirting scrubbing and squeezing.

As the weather warms up, it is a great idea to pack extra clothes each day in your child’s backpack as water play is inevitable.