Many parents eagerly await the time their little one learns to walk. Once they talk their first steps, they get fitted with good shoes to protect their feet from the hard ground beneath.
But now, studies are showing that it’s actually better for a child to walk around barefoot, and doing so can have huge benefits on their development!
When a child first learns to walk, their entire sensory system is in the fastest phase of its development.
Their brains are slowly learning about the world around them, taking in information through the five senses: smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound.
These senses are what help the brain to grow and learn.
Touch is probably the least popularly developed compared to the other senses, and parents may not put as much attention into this sense as they do to the others.
But Dr. Kacie Flegal, a vitalistic chiropractor, says that it is actually extremely important, especially because of the vitality of the two sensory systems: the vestibular system and the proprioceptive system.
The vestibular system is the system that ensures proper coordination and balance in the body, determining the body’s center of gravity, and it responds largely to what is conveyed through the proprioceptive system.
Proprioception is a skill that allows the brain to understand how the body has to be positioned to complete certain tasks and is responsible for motion perception.
Both of these systems’ functions are vastly improved by walking barefoot, and walking this way boost development of both systems.
This is why experts state that kids shouldn’t be made to walk with shoes on all the time.
Naturally, when they’re outdoors, wearing shoes may be necessary, but getting the chance to walk barefoot can provide valuable sensory input to both of the aforementioned systems.
Since feet have a lot of sensory cells and that form powerful neurological connections, using shoes constantly will block out useful tactile feedback that the body and brain can use for better development.
It’s reasonable to worry that your child’s feet may get hurt if they walk without shoes, but striking a balance is important.
Walking barefoot will help a child to build better coordination and balance while also working on spatial orientation.
All these things combined with well-stimulated feet will even promote better brain cell development, and there are plenty of links between intelligence and barefoot walking.
But is this knowledge just for your kids and babies? No, of course not! Even adults can get plenty of benefits from walking barefoot.
If you do so, your sensory systems will become more stimulated, allowing brand new neural connections to develop.
So if you often struggle with balance and similar issues, taking some time to walk barefoot can improve these problems.
While you’re encouraging your own kids to walk barefoot across the house, garden, or even in a grassy park, shuck your own shoes and join them! Grass feels wonderful against the skin and is great to walk around on.
You can both gain from the neurological benefits that walking barefoot bring.