Lose those ridiculously expensive toddler shoes; the sun is finally here to stay (for a few months at least)! With no risk of tiny toes turning into popsicles, it’s time to let the piggies be free!
I’ve had my fair share of dirty looks already this summer, as my kids run around the playground without shoes. I mean, we are already a spectacle with 4 young kids and a growing baby bump. It’s not like my kids don’t have shoes; trust me, their closets are overflowing despite my best efforts of minimalization. There are flip flops, sandals, sneakers, water shoes – and that’s just this season’s selection. My children have a gorgeous array of clothing, bows, hats, and other accessories to choose from, and yet, they are typically mismatched and dirty within hours of waking up.
I used to think that toddlers running around barefoot was a danger and reflection on poor parenting – man, I have come quite a ways since those ‘judgmental-perfect-parenting days!’ Not only have I stopped judging, but I actually seek out those other barefoot families now! Ha.
Let’s get real. I am a researcher, so many of my decisions are based on reading and learning, while other decisions are based purely on gut instincts and parenting style. Letting my kids kick their shoes off most hours of the day has a bit of research and a bit of mother’s gut behind it. The same goes with stomping in puddles, making mud cakes, and spending more daylight hours outside than inside all season long.
Why I Love Dirty Feet
Dirty feet are a sign of exploration, freedom, and independence
There is adventure to be had, and our little ones see the world as one big playground. It can be scary and exhilarating, but it invokes independence and creates a sense of exploration. Being barefoot connects the body and soul to the earth; it grounds us and helps us to know the earth. A childhood should be filled with knowing the dirt and feeling the wind. When shoes come off, freedom is granted to a child. It says to them, ‘GO! Go and play!’
Dirty feet allow for the feet to develop properly
Shoes destroy the feet – especially as they are still developing! That’s right, shoes alter the entire alignment of the body and cause problems that will last a lifetime. LET THEM BE BAREFOOT!! (This is also why soft structured shoes are the best bet for first walkers and young kids!)
Dirty feet mean fresh air and Vitamin D
A tell-tale sign that my kids have been outside is their dirty feet and tanned skin. We literally live outside once the weather is warm enough. Breathing in fresh (uncirculated) air and soaking up that amazing Vitamin D makes everyone happier.
Dirty feet typically mean a healthier immune system
That Vitamin D? It boosts the immune system too, as does exposure to all of those gross germs so many parents are trying to prevent. In a world full of toxic anti-bacterial items, the true way to stay healthy is to get dirty!
Dirty feet lead to bubble baths
What is better than a bathtub full of bubbles? It basically rivals the mud puddles from earlier in the day. A quick hose-down outside and then being tossed into a lavender filled bathtub basically creates the perfect ending to the perfect day in the eyes of the child.
I’m not saying that this messy lifestyle is for every parent, but I do believe that you own a mop, towels, and a camera… Why not kick off your shoes and enjoy the adventures this summer alongside of your mini-me!