Some time ago we explained to you what were the possible reasons why children take off their shoes so often. Despite this, parents often insist on putting their shoes on , even when they don’t need them, because they don’t walk.
We knew how comfortable and happy children are exploring their bare feet. Now, a study indicates that the habit of putting shoes on babies and children early can negatively affect their development and that, on the other hand, barefoot children develop their intelligence better :
Currently there is a tendency to fit children early. There are footwear called pre-walking footwear and crawling footwear. This article aims to offer scientific arguments that justify the need to leave the feet of non-walking babies barefoot.
As a method, the analysis and critical reading of different bibliographic sources in relation to the psychomotor development of the child, neurology treatises and the main theories on the development of intelligence in the child have been used. We found that the physical movement and sensory stimulation of the baby through bare feet is a factor in accelerating maturation , proprioceptive development and the child’s intellectual development.
Thus begins the study , entitled ” Preventive Podiatry: barefoot children equal to smarter children “, prepared by Isabel Gentil García, Professor at the University School of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Podiatry at the Complutense University of Madrid.
In it, a criticism is made of the profusion of advertising and footwear stores for “pre-walkers”, as well as the excessive pediatric recommendation to put shoes on babies. In his opinion, this act should only be necessary in order to keep the feet warm, and as a demonstration he offers scientific arguments that justify the need to leave the feet of non-walking babies barefoot, through an interdisciplinary approach.
Why are baby feet so important?
From the point of view of neurological development and tactile sensitivity, the feet of the newborn have a much finer sensitivity than that of the hand up to eight or nine months .
That is why in the first months the feet have an essential function : to inform the outside world to the baby, who touches with them everything within his reach, manipulates them with his hands and takes them to the mouth where the sensitive nerve endings are larger. . From this age the foot gradually loses this type of sensitivity.
Non-walking infants are continually shod deprived of tactile information and perception of the position and movement of the feet in relation to space, which play an important role in the central nervous system. Therefore, for the maturation of motor skills, the development of manual visual coordination and the acquisition of this tactile and perceptive information are necessary.
The study is also based on Piaget’s stages of intelligence development, focusing on the first, in the sensorimotor stage (from birth to two years ), when manipulation, movement and learning to skillfully organize are important. sensory information. The first notion of self, space, time and the idea of causality is acquired.
Undoubtedly, the feet, as privileged receptors, would contribute to a better development of the baby’s intelligence , and this is so because intelligence develops through:
- The maturation of the nervous system, this is the ability to differentiate and discriminate an increasing number of stimuli and has to do with the differentiation of nerve cells.
- The experience of interaction with the physical world, this is the manipulation, handling of objects. It means knowing how objects work by manipulating them. The development of intelligence would not be possible without this manipulation, since the maturation of the nervous system is not independent of experience. Along with the hands and the mouth, the feet also play a fundamental role.
- The need to learn. The human mind tends to cognitive balance. Every time there is an external stimulus that we do not understand, we tend to understand. The cognitive system tends to seek new information to rebalance, so the interest in learning has to do with seeking increasingly complex and stable knowledge structures.
In addition to Piaget, the author focuses on other authors to demonstrate her theory, and in the end they all agree that development is the result of a complex interaction between the environment and the organism and that one of the environmental factors that most intervenes in its development it is the body itself and its self-knowledge.
One of the funniest images we discover of the baby around three months is that he looks at himself and touches his hands and feet with curiosity. He begins to discover his body, and the shoes largely reduce his sensitivity, movement … After six-seven months, babies usually put their feet in their mouths in this process of self-knowledge and providing new sensations and motor experiences that contribute to the development of their intelligence.
In addition, the fact of supporting the bare foot on all kinds of surfaces, even irregular ones, contributes to muscle development. The so-called pre-walking shoe or crawling shoe prevents receiving sensations, and also adds excessive weight to the feet, preventing them from moving freely. All this explains why children, when they have more control over their bodies, take off their shoes all the time.
Some socks would do to keep them warm, although if babies usually put their feet in their mouths they are not convenient, and in any case they learn very quickly to take them off too. And, as I commented a long time ago, I consider that baby shoes are very pretty but not very useful , my daughters wore them very little, also because of the price issue: they are probably the most expensive garments in relation to their size.
In short, the study concludes that putting shoes on the little ones when they still do not know how to walk can harm their development , and that these “pre-walking” shoes have no justification. This seems like a new reason to let children, if it’s not cold, go barefoot at home, although it was enough for us to see how comfortable and how happy they were exploring their feet, don’t you think?