Shoes or No Shoes?
I often get asked about what shoes I would recommend for a child and when to start wearing shoes. This is a tricky question. With absolutely no foot abnormalities or tone problems, there are two schools of thought.
The Barefoot Crowd:
Most physical therapists would probably agree to allow a child to stay barefoot until he or she is walking well and it is time to venture outside.
The Shoe Crowd:
Others will argue the need for adequate support to the foot and ankle to help a child attain walking skills. Both would be right. There is a need for both.
I feel that a child staying barefoot inside is the better way to approach this; but it is not always possible to do so. Besides the sensory feedback and advantage of having the small muscles in the feet to get stronger from having to adjust to maintain an upright posture, there is the added benefit of the balance receptors in the feet having direct contact with the ground in order to develop well. All of this is kind of complex and I know you just want an answer. Here are some indoor shoes and first shoes that I do like. If your child attends daycare, for example, he or she may be required to wear shoes. This is another matter altogether. Make sure you purchase a flexible shoe, preferably with some slip resistant sole. There are many types as you see below. There are many conditions that require braces and therefore shoes at an early age. The shoes for this will be addressed later.
Click on the links for each type to see what is available:
1.) Robeez Shoes
2.) Skidders Slipper Shoes
3.) Pediped Shoes
5.) Stride Rite Prewalkers
8.) Jack and Lily
9.) Nike Flyease
Once your baby is up and walking, you will want to get something more supportive and make sure it is protective as well. It is tempting to get the matching shoes to an outfit or place the cute sandals on your child. It is fine to do this for pictures, etc; but the real goal is to get your child walking. If this is your true desire, then you need to help him or her the best that you can by providing adequate support and protection.
There is no need to spend a fortune to do this.
Most of the above brands and many others provide such options.
The smell of flowers blooming filled the air, as I walked to my car. I knew the day that I walked into their home for the first time that this day would come; but that doesn’t make it any easier. For the next several minutes, tears roll down my cheeks, as I try to pull myself together before I reach my next home. That family needs me too.
The child I just discharged was dear to my heart. I have been going to that house for over two years…laughed with them…cried with them…rejoiced with them. I am a pediatric PT and I work in the early intervention system, where I see the patients in their own homes. They all work their way into my heart and then the rules say that at age three…it all ends.
I feel great about what we have accomplished together. Every milestone was celebrated and enjoyed to the fullest; but the child still needs so much more and I am no longer the one who will be there to help her learn. Thank goodness for the wonderful clinics that I have referred them to; but I don’t want to stop.
There are so many joys in this job; but the sorrows are there too.
As I arrived at the next house, I saw a small child peering out the front door, watching for me–it’s my next patient. The smile on her face makes the sorrow in my heart dim just a little…
Thank goodness I am still needed!
For activities and ways to play with your child, click HERE
I have been receiving multiple requests to address this problem. If you sense your baby is not “holding” you with his or her legs and arms, I strongly suggest that you have your baby evaluated by a pediatric physical therapist. This is generally a sign that your child is over using extension in his or her movement patterns. Other signs for this:
–arms stay pulled back and high, even in sitting
–unable to roll or “flips” to roll
–not grabbing feet after about 5 months old
–when on tummy, looks like he or she is “swimming” on tummy with arms and legs held up
This is a partial list. Please send me an email and we can talk further. Generally, this needs to be addressed by someone who can teach you how to hold and carry your baby. For now, try these things:
–carry your baby in a “ball” by curling feet toward hands
–place baby on his or her back and bring feet toward their hands to play peek a boo between his or her feet
–place your child in side lying to play (even if older). This will help bring arms together more.
These are just a few tips. More can be found under the gross motor activity pages for rolling, tummy time, and sitting games.
For more ideas on ways to play with your child, click HERE for available books.
My mailbox is overflowing from your questions. A couple of things have stood out over the last week. I decided to post a few simple ideas and developmental progressions with ball play and activity tables as well as a basic sitting page. As always, this is not meant to take the place of therapy but will maybe give you some ideas to work on for fun and gross motor development.
Keep sending questions, I will privately answer you in a timely manner!