What do you think about barefoot children, especially toddlers? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-23-2011, 02:27 PM
 
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My younger daughter and I will walk around the neighborhood barefoot sometimes.  I think sometimes people get really attached to their ways of doing things, and have this knee-jerk negative reaction to behaviors others think are good that they just KNOW are bad.  My mom can be that way, and the amount of hyperbole she used in describing herself and her behaviors compared to our behaviors, wow.  Like she gave her babies baths every night and had them in bed by 6 pm, and if you didn't do that, well, that is just child abuse, plain and simple. There were many times she voiced her opinion on when social services should be called, but it was all just talk, a way to show how outrageous she found my sister's way of raising children to be.  I was more shielded from this as I had moved away by the time I had children, but we'd always call her out on it anyway (like, at least we didn't smoke around our babies, at least we don't chase our toddlers with the belt, etc.).  If it was a stranger, I am not sure what I'd do, if I'd ignore it or acknowledge it in anyway.

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Old 07-23-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by limabean View Post




Hookworm can be acquired that way, but it's rare these days in North America. 

 



Oh yeah, after I learned about hookworms from an 8th grade science teacher who described the process, I stopped going barefoot outside for awhile, except on the sidewalk.  But I was paranoid about walking on the grass until I realized that wasn't a problem.

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Old 07-23-2011, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by limabean View Post

Hookworm can be acquired that way, but it's rare these days in North America. 

 



Yeah, my dad and grandparents were fearful of hookworm (I grew up in the tropics), and my parents discouraged me from going barefoot. Additionally, the Asian custom of not wearing shoes in the house comes from not wanting to track in dirt....so it makes little sense to go barefoot, get your feet all dirty, and then walk inside. On the rare occasions that I did go barefoot, my parents would pitch a fit and make me scrub my feet under the garden hose before I could come in. The dirt in Hawaii is rusty colored and stains like crazy. So I guess wearing some sort of footwear is just something ingrained in me.

 

My kids rarely go barefoot (it's cold for much of the year here, and we live in the city), but they've still managed to step on bees here and there. No glass or nails yet, though.

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Old 07-23-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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In my experience, some folks are very judgmental of parents with "large families" (which, in our culture, often means more than two or three kids) and extremely judgmental of homeschooling parents (I actually mean mothers and not parents, 'cause it just seems to me that most of the judgment is directed at the moms). And, if a family has more than two or three kids and homeschools, it seems like the moms need to have a nearly godlike or Martha Stewart-like (minus the felony conviction) aura for people to see her as "qualified" to live her life in the way in which she is choosing to live it.

 

I just have two children, but I have definitely gotten some flack for homeschooling, simply because I don't come across (and certainly am nothing like) the god/Martha Stewart hybrid that some people insist you have to be before you can dare to actually keep your school-aged kids with you all day. My sister, who actually did call CPS on me a few years back, once told me that, to homeschool, you had to be really super-organized in order to keep on top of everything. She said she wasn't qualified to do it, so, I guess in her eyes, most of us mere mortals were/are most certainly not even in the ballpark of qualifying. 

 

I think it's people like that who are so intent on verbally duking-it-out with anyone who is doing something that they themselves don't feel capable of doing. I don't mean just the people who say, "I could never handle having so many kids" or "I could never handle homeschooling," and certainly not the ones who choose not to do so either of these things -- but the ones who simply can't. stand. the idea that some other mom is doing this THING that they don't feel up to doing themselves, and this other mom actually has the GALL to appear to be, for the most part, enjoying her life and enjoying her kids -- you know, not totally stressed out and acting like a drill sergeant, all hyped up about keeping everybody on target.

 

Oh, and, yes, my girls and I are always barefoot in the house and sometimes outdoors, too. I agree with the others who say that CPS has other fish to fry.

 

I'm glad you shared this, cappuccinosmom:
 

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 Also, in dh's country there is something in the soil that causes elephantiasis--severe and permanent disfigurement of the feet and lower legs. :(  It is truly horrific, and he was a health worker dealin with people who had it, so he saw the worst of the worst.  He is not comfortable with our children going barefoot, even though he knows rationally that the soil here is different.  He'd rather they get used to putting something on their feet when going outside, and I have no real desire to battle him on that.  It's not an issue worth a battle, to me.



We have some neighbors who are from another part of the world, and, a few years back, their teen daughter told dd1 that she and dd2 were going to be sick if they kept playing in the mud. She commented that everytime she came to our house, she got sick. I was never sure just what this was all about, but it seemed to me that they were trying to trash-talk us to their kids (and inadvertently to our own children, too, through their teenaged mouthpiece) because their younger children were always wanting, so badly, to come over and join our girls in their little pool. They sometimes let them come over, but would get all upset if any of them got wet or dirty.

 

I suppose there might be some bad diseases in the soil of their homeland, too. So maybe they weren't just trying to persuade their kids not to get dirty...maybe they really thought we were courting some horrible plague.

 


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Old 07-23-2011, 04:04 PM
 
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DS goes barefoot all the time. As do I. Especially when around the house, the yard, or in a big grassy park.


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Old 07-23-2011, 04:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

We have some neighbors who are from another part of the world, and, a few years back, their teen daughter told dd1 that she and dd2 were going to be sick if they kept playing in the mud. She commented that everytime she came to our house, she got sick. I was never sure just what this was all about, but it seemed to me that they were trying to trash-talk us to their kids (and inadvertently to our own children, too, through their teenaged mouthpiece) because their younger children were always wanting, so badly, to come over and join our girls in their little pool. They sometimes let them come over, but would get all upset if any of them got wet or dirty.

 

I suppose there might be some bad diseases in the soil of their homeland, too. So maybe they weren't just trying to persuade their kids not to get dirty...maybe they really thought we were courting some horrible plague.

 


I can somehow relate to this mortal fear of soil or dirt or being dirty as I grew up in a different culture and environment as well. It really took me a while to not get squeamish about DH going barefoot in the yard and has taken me longer to actually allow my kids to do the same. And yes, I have visions of hookworm entering our bodies through our feet still. LOL
 

 

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Old 07-23-2011, 04:10 PM
 
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My kids are barefoot at home (inside and out) always... 


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Old 07-24-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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My DD1 who has autism was always w/o shoes.

 

So long as his foot has good arches, then its all good. The thing to avoid is flip flops. They will encourage horrible walking patterns and foot development.

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Old 07-24-2011, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by beenmum View Post

My DD1 who has autism was always w/o shoes.

 

So long as his foot has good arches, then its all good. The thing to avoid is flip flops. They will encourage horrible walking patterns and foot development.

 

I think I've worn flip-flops about a dozen times in my entire life, and none of my kids (except ds1, who is old enough to buy his own clothes) even owns them. I don't like those things. DS1 and I basically wear them when we go to the outdoor pool in the complex, so that we don't have to walk back with wet bare feet, as they pick up bits of dirt and grit.

 

I told another friend about this. She lives in this complex (but she's a friend from before either of us lived here). She asked me which neighbour it was, and then said, "oh, the one with the two dog? She's nuts!". DS1's ex-girlfriend's mom said the same thing. I've had very minimal contact with the neighbour in question, but it seems I'm not the only one who has trouble dealing with her.
 

 


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Old 07-24-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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I'd just chalk it up to the fact she is nuts. orngbiggrin.gif DD1 and I both strongly dislike shoes, we tend to only wear shoes that we can kick off the second we are able to, clogs in the winter and the dreaded flip flops in the summer (we both adore them). Never anything that tie unless we really have to! We don't run around barefoot outside our house because we have massive pine trees everywhere, needles in the feet aren't exactly comfortable. At the parks we do though. DD2 doesn't have quite the shoe hatred DD1 does, but she tend to take them off often. DS has to wear orthotics and must wear shoes, always sneakers, most of the day. I honestly feel so sorry for him, I can't imagine being stuck in shoes that much. greensad.gif


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Old 07-24-2011, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenmum View Post

My DD1 who has autism was always w/o shoes.

 

So long as his foot has good arches, then its all good. The thing to avoid is flip flops. They will encourage horrible walking patterns and foot development.



I hear that every so often. I grew up wearing almost nothing but flip-flops. I don't even think I owned a pair of closed-toed shoes until I was 10 or 11 years old. My mom's been wearing them since she landed in Honolulu in 1972....she hates the confined feeling of shoes. My friends and family in Hawaii all seem to walk okay, so I'm not sure what the deal is.

 

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Old 07-25-2011, 03:54 PM
 
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storm bride with the back history you said and the attitude of the person do you think she chose this issue because it was one she could possibly attack you on. anything else perhaps she couldnt yell at you or figure out how to tell you off, so chose the shoe issue. 

 

dd was a sensation craver. so no shoes till she started K. even today at almost 9, she takes off her shoes as often as she can. as a toddler and pser she walked everywhere barefoot and learnt how to avoid glass. in fact i guess her sole got so strong that she could walk on glass without it piercing her skin or hurting her. she walked on bark, railway rocks and shingles. the only time she got a splinter was years later while wearing shoes.

 

dd only wore shoes when she had to. like the local grocery store was fine with her going barefoot, but the chain wasnt. one public library allowed barefoot, others didnt. 


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Old 07-25-2011, 04:53 PM
 
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re: flip-flops ... my girl is just like me, half flatfoot, for some reason flip-flops are the most comfortable choice for both of us. she learned to walk wearing Robeez or barefoot, though. i wear flat sandals with either a toe post or toe ring. my feet are the one part of my body that doesn't hurt, oddly!

 

why oh why do Robeez only go up to 4 years?? i want them in my size, too! lotsa mocs on the market but none so cute.


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Old 07-25-2011, 05:42 PM
 
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storm bride with the back history you said and the attitude of the person do you think she chose this issue because it was one she could possibly attack you on. anything else perhaps she couldnt yell at you or figure out how to tell you off, so chose the shoe issue. 


I agree with this.  With what you've talked in the past with issues you've had that could be seen on the outside as not a good situation (kids getting away from you, riding near interstates, getting brought home by the cops, etc.)... it could just be that she has found something that she can latch on to and get after you about because she has it out for you.  Unfortunately, you have some history at this apartment building and they perhaps are not looking at everything as isolated incidents... they may be adding them up and also adding petty, ridiculous, meaningless issues to their list.  What really is nothing by itself is perhaps another "incident" they are tallying against you.

 

To answer your question, though, personally, I wouldn't let a child go barefoot in your environment.  Once we got to a park (that I knew wasn't sprayed), sure we'd take our shoes off.  In our own (big and private, with no pesticides/herbicides ever used on) back yard, absolutely.  But on sidewalks and apartment playgrounds and parking lots...you're in a rather urban environment and I can see why someone would question it... however it's still your decision and certainly not anything to call CPS about.  As an isolated incident, that's way out there.  I fear, though that this person is not looking at this as just one thing though... she might be adding them all together and be coming up with something CPS-worthy in her own mind.  I would just tell her to call CPS right now.  You have nothing to hide, and it would kind of rub her nose in it when they found no grounds to investigate.  Like I said, going barefoot in your environment wouldn't work for us, but it's absolutely not something to call the authorities about! 

 

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Old 07-25-2011, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree with this.  With what you've talked in the past with issues you've had that could be seen on the outside as not a good situation (kids getting away from you, riding near interstates, getting brought home by the cops, etc.)... it could just be that she has found something that she can latch on to and get after you about because she has it out for you.  Unfortunately, you have some history at this apartment building and they perhaps are not looking at everything as isolated incidents... they may be adding them up and also adding petty, ridiculous, meaningless issues to their list.  What really is nothing by itself is perhaps another "incident" they are tallying against you.

 

To answer your question, though, personally, I wouldn't let a child go barefoot in your environment.  Once we got to a park (that I knew wasn't sprayed), sure we'd take our shoes off.  In our own (big and private, with no pesticides/herbicides ever used on) back yard, absolutely.  But on sidewalks and apartment playgrounds and parking lots...you're in a rather urban environment and I can see why someone would question it... however it's still your decision and certainly not anything to call CPS about.  As an isolated incident, that's way out there.  I fear, though that this person is not looking at this as just one thing though... she might be adding them all together and be coming up with something CPS-worthy in her own mind.  I would just tell her to call CPS right now.  You have nothing to hide, and it would kind of rub her nose in it when they found no grounds to investigate.  Like I said, going barefoot in your environment wouldn't work for us, but it's absolutely not something to call the authorities about! 

 

It's not a big deal, but we're not in an apartment building. We're in a townhouse complex, although I suspect that, in most places, they'd be called row houses. The sidewalk in question (although I would let her go barefoot on other local ones, as well) is an internal sidewalk, facing our parking lot. The parking lot in question is a second playground for most of the kids in our section (including those of both the moms who have the issue about the footwear), and other parents have set up small mini-golf thing (with a big piece of felt or carpet or something), a basketball hoop, etc. and many of the parents sit out there to socialize and listen to music and stuff. It's a parking lot, but it's not treated as one (except for the occasional yell of "car!"). It's a little bit like a quiet suburban cul-de-sac, but not exactly.
 

And, honestly - the issue with ds2 getting away from me and riding on the Interstate, and being brought back by the cops was all one incident! I agree that he does have some behavioural issues, and I think those are contributing to this...but it was still bizarre. I barely even know this woman.


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Old 07-25-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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oh absolutely it was bizarre. does she have an only child your dd's age? i think you said her dd was ur dd's age.

 

i guess her child might be an easy one and the mom must feel in control and therefore cant understand why you dont get it right. 

 

its like that high needs concept. unless you have a HNs child you just never know what its like. 

 

some of the posts here venting about what they saw - could be like her. i mean so yeah they may not have said anything to the person but they did grumble behind their back. 


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Old 07-25-2011, 08:16 PM
 
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Both kids usually start out in shoes/sandals outside.  My 3 year old almost always takes his off.   I try to keep shoes on him out in public (parks, beach, sidewalks) but try not to care too much if he doesn't want them on or takes them off.   I love how feet get all rough and tough in the summer. 


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Old 07-26-2011, 04:29 AM
 
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barefoot is a pleasure I hate to deny my children. I let my own feet be my guide, if I have a reasonable suspicion that I may step on something if I'm barefoot or if the ground would feel too hot or cold, I don't let my kids go without their shoes, but if I feel as though I'd be safe and comfortable if I were to remove my own footwear, then generally speaking I don't mind if my kids do.

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Old 07-26-2011, 04:43 AM
 
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I can't keep shoes on my children!  Especially DD2. She even takes them off at church. As in your case, for me it's a fight I choose not to have. I only require they go back on when it's time to leave.  AS hard as I try, I don't think they even know how to play on the front lawn with shoes on.  They put them on to leave the house, and they immediately fly off when they hit the grass.  When we got a new roof a few years ago, we were pretty adamant about shoes while in the front yard, as there were plenty of stray nails.  As for myself, I think if it weren't for OSHA regulations I would work on my bare feet! (I work on my feet up to 10 hours a day).  It's pure pleasure for me to watch them wiggle their naked toes and wrap their feet aroung whatever object because there are no shoes in the way.  At the beach, unless the sand is scalding hot, I don't even know how to walk with shoes on.  Sand was made for between the toes!!


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Old 07-26-2011, 05:36 AM
 
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Stormbride- that is lady is crazy. I hope we never get to a place where we cannot let our children walk barefoot, or play in the yard unsupervised (at a certain age).  Our childhoods were a nice balance of parenting and exploration.

 

I still love walking around barefoot and although my daughter doesn't do it frequently, she loves shoes, I would hesitate to let her walk around in 'safe' areas.  I think to me that would personally include the street BUT she would need to wash her feet before entering the house :).

 

People are starting to lean towards working out barefoot because of the immense benefits it can have on your body/brain.

 

There are something like 26 bones, 33 joints and 100 (+) muscles and ligaments in the foot.  Going barefoot helps strengthen the feet, which support our bodies.  Also the feet relay all these messages to our brain and when there is no shoe padding the foot, there is said to be less risk of injury because there is automatic communication.  Many adults are starting to re train their feet to be able to go without shoes :) 

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Old 07-26-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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i can't wait til DS can go barefoot! Well, occasionally in the frontyard he does, but we are in Alabama and the fireants are EVERYWHERE, so if we are in the backyard or out for a walk it is shoes at a minimum (rainboots keep them off the longest). We are military and leaving here soon for Seoul where it will be so urban we will probably still need shoes:(.
I have noticed alot of tension between AP moms and more conventional moms. I think they feel judged by our rejection of the cultural norm for childrearing. Sounds like an uncomfortable situation with a neighbor:(.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:14 AM
 
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I think barefoot children are wonderful. Adults too! :) The dangers of being barefoot are greatly over-exaggerated. Broken glass can be stepped around. We usually bring sandals with us in case of over-anxious store personnel. And when we walk downtown we usually wear flip flops, because there is a lot of gravel on the sidewalk, so it's uncomfortable. Being barefoot can be uncomfortable at times, but rarely is it dangerous. I didn't read through the thread, but in case no one else mentioned it, there's a great little site called www.unshod.org.


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Old 07-26-2011, 07:31 AM
 
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When my kids were toddlers they were almost always barefoot. If were were somewhere that shoes were nesessary they wore shoes, if not, they didn't. Even now they go barefoot as much as possible, I keep a basket of flip flops in the car for that reason : )

 

OP- I've only read your first two posts in this thread, it sounds as though your neighbor has a serious grudge against you, or, she has entirely too much time on her hands, or both. I just can't understand calling CPS and wasting their time/money/resources over a barefoot child. Calling on suspected abuse? Yes, I support that. Calling on suspected neglect? Yes, I support that too. Calling on a family who's kid is out  IN THE SUMMER WITH THEIR MOM, barefoot ? No, the woman is a troublemaker and a burden on our already strained child protective system.

I'd steer clear of her if I were you.

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Old 07-26-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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My daughter who is about to turn three, has been going barefoot for almost two years now, whenever she can. I only require that she wear shoes when she rides her scooter, or is playing in an area where there is visible glass or other unsafe debris. If we ever went to the snow which is rare, I would require her to wear shoes there, too. Usually the remarks I get are "where are your shoes, little girl?" to which I politely reply "her mother has them in the event she chooses to wear them". I always keep a pair with me when we go out just in case.

I also have to say that we live in an extremely mild climate where daytime temperatures are typically between 60 and 85 degrees. If the pavement is hot, or it's just too cold outside, I talk to her about hurting her feet and suggest that she wear shoes, and she always does in this cases. She is at the age where we can communicate and she can understand why I'm asking her to do something.

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Old 07-26-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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To Cat's Cradle: Random bit of information, you can get hookworm from going barefoot in areas that have an open latrine system. They are passed through human feces, even if it is burried up to 10 ft, and work their way into your feet!  It's been virtually completely eliminated in most developed countries, so perhaps your grandmother had had some experience with this. I only know this because my aunt has been talking about how when her husband visits Thailand or Vietnam or somewhere next year, she is having him walk around barefoot outside the latrines to pick up hookworms to bring back to her because it is supposed to be good for autoimmune disorders and allergies, I love my family :)

 

When I was little, I never wore shoes outside (unless we were on a bike, then we had to), it is some of my best memories, I loved being barefoot and when my LO is walking I will certainly not make her wear shoes when playing outside in the yard!

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Old 07-26-2011, 10:17 AM
 
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Was it me, lol?  (I know it wasn't...we don't really have neighbors.)  But, my kids do this all the time, and the ages last winter were 1.5, 3, and 5.5.  They run out first thing in the morning, and they all have boots they could slip on.  Some days they do, and some they don't.  They also have hats and gloves if they want them.  And, if they ask, I'll zip up their jackets.  I'd usually bring the youngest in after a short time, and the other two seek warmer gear on their own fairly quickly.  It's a goofy battle to me.  And they do appear unsupervised, but that's because you can't see me checking on them through the windows every few minutes.  We have no traffic, and very few neighbors, though, and are surrounded by natural boundaries (thick woods), so I really don't have to worry about them out there. 

 

As far as shoes, we always check to be sure we have some in the van before we go out, but sometimes one kid will slip by without any and we just have them ride in the cart.  Other than that...no shoes.  (They have them if they want them, but they don't.  My dh wears shoes, but I don't.  Sometimes I get in the car and then realize I don't have any on either...)
 

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Originally Posted by SuburbanHippie View Post

As long as the temperature is okay, I don't see a problem with it.  I have considered calling CPS before though on our neighbors that let their children run around in 35-40 degree weather in pjs, barefoot, with an unzipped winter jacket completely unsupervised (ages 3, 4, & 5).  



 


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Old 07-26-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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i love going barefoot too.

the thing that concerns me is not broken glass or metal- since that can be seen and avoided.

but rather catching some fungus from someone else.. i've encountered too many pple. that have fungus on their feet and dont even shower without water shoes..

how likely might it be to catch fungus from someone else who's gone barefoot on the pavement?

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Old 07-26-2011, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betach View Post

i love going barefoot too.

the thing that concerns me is not broken glass or metal- since that can be seen and avoided.

but rather catching some fungus from someone else.. i've encountered too many pple. that have fungus on their feet and dont even shower without water shoes..

how likely might it be to catch fungus from someone else who's gone barefoot on the pavement?


 

I don't know, but I don't think it's all that likely. When I was a kid, everyone in the neighbourhood ran around barefoot a lot, and I don't recall anyone ever getting a fungus or anything like that. I've read that fungal infections actually thrive in shoes, because they keep the feet moist and warm, whereas bare feet allow air to circulate more freely, so fungus is less likely to get a...toehold (ouch - that pun hurt, but I can't think of another way to phrase it). I don't know if it's true or not, but it makes sense to me. I've know I've only ever known two or three people with Athlete's Foot, at least that I had knowledge of, and they always wore shoes.

 

And, honestly...when the weather is dry (which it's not today), the sidewalk doesn't seem like an environment in which a fungus would thrive, yk?


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Old 07-26-2011, 11:53 AM
 
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Our 15 mo ds is barefoot whenever we are barefoot, so always indoors, mostly barefoot outside, and occasionally on walks, but we're in Southern California where that's possible almost year-round!  We wear shoes when we go places, like shopping, to the park, to friend's homes, etc., places where you're expected to wear shoes.

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Old 07-26-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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k, now there's another reason i'd love to live in southern cali

since i dont see it in the foreseeable future:  :(

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