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

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#1 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm big on letting my kids go barefoot, if they want to. Obviously, that doesn't apply if we're going for a long walk in the snow, or the pavement is burning hot, or there's broken glass all over the place. Generally speaking, though, I let my kids call the shots on whether or not they want to be barefoot (I won't force that on an establishment that doesn't allow it, though - not a fight I want to have). I think it's better for their feet, joints, etc. and I also think they're better judges of their own comfort than I am. I simply don't worry about the possibility of broken glass, sharp objects, etc. if there's no particular reason to worry about that in a specific location.

So, what's your take?


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#2 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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My kids are barefoot a lot. Outside they generally have shoes on but not always if we're just playing in the front yard or at the park. I am frequently barefoot myself :)

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#3 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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At home, sure if they want to. Beach. But not in teh yard. We have cats, raoons come to visits and it can get gross. The street is just not safe beacuse of possibale glass, nails etc

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#4 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses - that was quick!

 

My kids are mostly barefoot in the house or in our townhouse complex - sidewalks and the playground. We've been here six years, and I've never seen any animal feces, nails, etc. There was broken glass once, when ds2 smashed a glass, and it was promptly cleaned up. I'm generally either barefoot or in socks myself, even outside (unless it's raining, which is fairly frequently).

 

The reason I asked is that I had a bizarrely hostile encounter with a neighbour, who told me she was going to report me to CPS, because dd2 was walking down the sidewalk barefoot. I'm still kind of blown away, and it was two days ago. I have no idea if she actually reported me or not, though.


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#5 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

 

The reason I asked is that I had a bizarrely hostile encounter with a neighbour, who told me she was going to report me to CPS, because dd2 was walking down the sidewalk barefoot. I'm still kind of blown away, and it was two days ago. I have no idea if she actually reported me or not, though.



Tell her to call away.  CPS will laugh in her face.  As for no shoes...I mostly do not allow this because DS is not vaccinated and I don't want him to step on something where he'll need a tetanus shot.  We've found broken glass, a couple of rusted nails, and random scrap metal around our house and yard.  I do let him do it places I know are safe like my parents fenced in yard even though they have a dog. 

 

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#6 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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My 3yo is barefooted more often than other children his age. My 5 yo prefers his foot attire.

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#7 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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My older kids choose to wear shoes but my toddler is almost always barefoot (and usually naked too). He won't keep anything on and, if I don't have to, I don't bother with the fight over it.


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#8 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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Only in the house or in our yard, occasionally. At the beach- with due caution as I have seen broken glass at the beach.

Though being barefoot is not so much something we do as a family, I see it more as a lifestyle choice rather than a sign of neglect. I think CPS has better things to do than investigate the families of barefoot children across the US.

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#9 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Only in the house or in our yard, occasionally. At the beach- with due caution as I have seen broken glass at the beach.

Though being barefoot is not so much something we do as a family, I see it more as a lifestyle choice rather than a sign of neglect. I think CPS has better things to do than investigate the families of barefoot children across the US.



I'm actually in Canada (and it's not called CPS here, but I never remember what it is called, and everybody knows what CPS means, yk?). I'm not worried about them showing up here. I have nothing to hide...although I would prefer that we've finished our bedroom move by then, as things are quite chaotic upstairs right now!

 

I really don't think CPS would take this very seriously. My sister had a call a couple years ago, and the subject of shoes came up, and the social worker told her, flat out, that if her son wouldn't wear shoes, it wasn't a big deal. She was just advised to keep shoes with her, in case of unexpected rough ground, glass, etc.

 

I'm just boggled that the whole thing became such a heated, ridiculous issue. She told me dd2 needed shoes. I told her my kids are allowed to go barefoot if they want, and she just laced into me. I've only ever talked to this woman once before, and that was about a year ago. (She was lacing into me that time, too, over something ds2 had done. What he'd done wasn't okay, and I was already dealing with it, and she just kept getting at me about it not being okay, and I just kept agreeing with her. It was weird.) We definitely have a personality conflict.


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#10 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:18 PM
 
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Personality conflict and, also, maybe this here neighbor has a little too much time on her hands. Some people are convinced they'd just be better mothers, raise better children, make better decisions. *UGH*

Hang in there!

 

P.S. Barefoot is the way to be!!  thumb.gif


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#11 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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Your neighbour sounds nutty!  It's not like you don't have shoes available... my kids don't go barefoot outside much because they just don't like it, but I would allow it on our sidewalks and in our yard for sure.  


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#12 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Deepfeet View Post

Personality conflict and, also, maybe this here neighbor has a little too much time on her hands. Some people are convinced they'd just be better mothers, raise better children, make better decisions. *UGH*

Hang in there!

 

Well, she is also a parent, but her only child is about the same age as dd2. I don't get into the whole "I'm a more experienced parent than you" thing with people, as a rule, because I feel that they're more experienced with their child(ren), yk? But, I've been doing this for 18 years, and I've never had anyone make such an issue about something like this before. I've had my share of "that baby needs a hat" and "where are his shoes, mom?" and such, but this became a complete war. I didn't handle it well, either, but she just would. not. drop. it. And, she pulled the "everyone is talking about your parenting and the fact that your two year old doesn't wear shoes". I mean...seriously? People around here have nothing better to talk about than my barefoot dd??

 

I just don't get it. I don't agree with everything about the way everyone around here parents, either - but I don't go around picking fights about it, yk?

 

P.S. Barefoot is the way to be!!  thumb.gif

 

I vastly prefer it for myself. I think I would, anyway, but I have very hard to fit feet (very short and wide - roughly twice as long as they are wide - and a high instep), so shoes basically just don't fit me, unless I have them custom made, which is really expensive.



 


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#13 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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Your neighbor sounds a little off the rails. CPS might be concerned if you refused to let your children to have access to shoes at all, but since they own shoes and just choose not to wear them sometimes, in situations you deem safe, I agree with the other poster who said CPS would laugh at receiving such a phone call. 

 

To answer your original question, yes I let my kids go barefoot. They play in the yard with no shoes a lot, although if they start riding scooters I do ask them to put shoes on (too many toes have been run over otherwise). If they wear sandals to the park the first thing they do is take their shoes off, which I completely understand -- sandals full of sand are uncomfortable. If they wear shoes and socks to the park, they typically leave them on, which doesn't seem to bother them even though those shoes get full of sand too. But I've seen other parents at the park be really concerned about shoe wearing before. I remember once on a day when my kids happened to have on shoes/socks, another mom was letting her kids go barefoot and a third mom quietly tsk-tsked to me about it. I just gave a noncommittal shrug, but was inwardly laughing, thinking how on another day she could be tsk-tsking about me. 


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#14 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:42 PM
 
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I think your neighbour needs to slug back some Rescue Remedy in a nice glass of wine, get a massage, and generally chill out.  How presumptuous of her, and how judgmental.  If she calls McFamilies (Ministry of Children and Families) I'm pretty sure they'd say, "Thank you for your concern, Ma'am," and pretend to write your details down, then hang up the phone and roll their eyes and tell their colleagues that some people just have way too much time on their hands.

 

As for bare feet, my 2.5yo dd is often barefoot, and I allow it pretty much everywhere except stores, restaurants, alleys and roads, and particularly nasty sidewalks (ie. Hastings and Main). 


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#15 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:43 PM
 
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That is bizarre.  My 3 yo is barefoot much of the time, unless it isn't safe as other pp's mentioned.  He actually drives his daycare teacher batty because he constantly rips off his shoes and socks when the kids are inside.  :-p  (She doesn't have a problem with the fact that he's barefoot, btw...it's just because she then has to track down his shoes and socks.)

 

It sounds like your neighbor is just "that" kind of person.  Sorry you have to deal with her!

 

 


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#16 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:45 PM
 
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Yes, my kids, including the toddler, are sometimes barefoot if they want to be. Not a big deal. I don't understand your neighbor's thinking.
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#17 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I suspect my neighbour's issues are partly because of ds2. He has some behavioural issues that we're having a lot of trouble dealing with. I've wondered if he's on the autism spectrum, or has SPD, or something like that. The ped he saw a week ago tentatively diagnosed ADD and ODD. Whatever's going on with him, it's really hard to deal with. I know, just from listening to them, that some of my neighbours (including this woman's next door neighbour) are convinced that I'm just a generally crappy parent, and if I'd just deal with him "properly", his issues would disappear.  Of course, they think ds1 and dd1 are just awesome kids, but that's apparently good luck, not good parenting (I actually think I've had a lot of good luck with all my kids, including ds2, and I don't think I'm a fabulous parent - but I'm not a terrible one, either.) I'm pretty sure they think I'm being negligent by homeschooling, as well. So, the shoes is probably just the final straw...or something like that.

 

Anyway, thank you all. This is the kind of thing that makes me go "is this really that extreme??". But, except for a couple of the neighbours (the next-door one has brought it up a few times, but she does it very differently - frustrating, in some ways, but not so confrontational), everybody I've talked to thinks this is over the top. I am guilty of not being very polite to her, and I don't feel great about it, but I was just frustrated...both my DDs were upset, and she just kept yammering at me...

 

 

ETA: Somebody upthread mentioned a scooter. My kids also have to wear shoes if they're bike riding, as I know they can hurt their feet badly if they scrape.

 

I have a local friend who's a major barefoot enthusiast - much more than me! - and my petty side is tempted to invite her and her kids to come by and play with my kids in the playground every day for a week...


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#18 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 04:30 PM
 
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Pfft. This is New Zealand, and going barefoot is totally standard. At school, I was the only kid in my class who didn't strip off shoes and socks immediately upon arriving and leave them off all day.

 

I do try to keep DD in socks or slippers when it's cold, but... well, right now we're both barefoot and it is cold. She's not too keen on slippers.


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#19 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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A total judgement call thing, in my opinion.  Obviously DD wears shoes walking around the city streets...too much trash and animal poop...but the first chance I see where we can go barefoot - we do it!  It is a big contention with DH, since he believes that people should wear slippers at home...but barefoot to me means total relaxation and freedom!  Again, you choose your battles and battles are based on subjective situations. 

 

FYI:  my grandmother and mother (we're talking early 20th to mid-20th century here) had a mortal fear of bare-footing.  They believed that there were special worms that could enter one's feet.  I'm not sure what science that was based upon and they were in area that was mostly rural.  They also feared random child abductions and other things that happen to small percentages of the population.  I love them dearly but their fears were based on random stories and not on subjective judgments.  Not that my personal thoughts matter.


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#20 of 79 Old 07-22-2011, 07:37 PM
 
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DD (2yo) is barefoot a fair bit. We're always barefoot in the house (if it's winter we often wear slippers) and she's been showing a preference for being barefoot out of the house as well. The only places I insist are in stores, restaurants, etc because it's their rules not mine and our backyard because after a year of ongoing renovations and still in the middle of them, I know there's a high likelihood of nails, etc back there. But outside anywhere else is fair game. I've seen a lot of parents at our neighbourhood parks insist their kids wear shoes while playing at the playground and I've never really understood why. I think overall barefoot at this age is better for her muscle/bone structure development.

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#21 of 79 Old 07-23-2011, 12:54 AM
 
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we live in a busy apartment complex, the road between parking lots is at our front door, with a small sidewalk in between. too much stuff on the ground,  so i had to convince my girl to wear shoes early on. she fought it, got a few little cuts and scrapes, then she decided to wear flip-flops. i make sure she plays out back in the big yard with her shoes off sometimes, we wiggle our toes in the grass, feels great and is very grounding. she also has to wear sneakers for bike riding and tree climbing, never argues with me about that. we're both barefoot hillbillies whenever we can be!


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#22 of 79 Old 07-23-2011, 05:22 AM
 
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When I was a kid, I went barefoot all summer every summer.

 

However, we lived on a rural commune and the places we walked and played were largely free of dangerous stuff.  (even so, there were plenty of bee stings and sprained toes, and one of my classmates did step on a nail that went right through his foot)

 

My kids need to at least wear flip flops when they're outside.  We live in town, dh, is working on our house (thus occasionally screws, nails, and other stuff end up in the grass). 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.

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#23 of 79 Old 07-23-2011, 07:28 AM
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My 5 yr. old and 1 yr. old are usually barefoot in the house and outside. I make my 5 yr. old wear shoes inside stores and so forth, and put them on my toddler if she is walking, but not if I am wearing her or putting her in a cart or stroller. My 8 yr. old wears shoes unless he's in our house or yard. He doesn't hate them like his little brother. 

There are worms that enter the body through feet that were a big problem in the south before modern plumbing. I don't think that's a real concern anymore. 

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#24 of 79 Old 07-23-2011, 07:30 AM
 
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How bizarre.  confused.gif  Your neighbor needs to mind her own business!  How irritating.

 

Both my kiddos are barefoot all the time at home.  If we go out in the world, they wear shoes, but it definitely isn't their favorite.
I remember always being barefoot as a kid.  It's just crazy that your neighbor would take issue with that in a situation you've deemed acceptable for little feet.

 

I hope she stops harassing you!
 

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#25 of 79 Old 07-23-2011, 08:55 AM
 
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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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#26 of 79 Old 07-23-2011, 10:13 AM
 
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We don't wear shoes in the house at all.  As for going outside, my 4 year old DD is mostly barefoot when she is playing on our street.  I don't have a problem with it and she is most comfortable that way.  What does bother me is the mothers of the other kids she plays with telling my DD to put her shoes on.  I have found myself trying to get DD to wear shoes because of that... but actually after reading this thread I feel more confident with our choice. ;)


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#27 of 79 Old 07-23-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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My children run around barefoot most of the time.  But my toddler...I can hardly stand that he's roughing up those sweet, smooth, fat feet, kwim?  


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#28 of 79 Old 07-23-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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As a child my mom was militant about us wearing shoes because she did experience a nail in the foot as a child. Now my kids and I go barefoot most of the time at home and at parks and the toddler is barefoot and naked most of the time (although he has finally learned to put clothes on to go outside)  :) My kids only put shoes on if we are going somewhere where they are required..we once got yelled at in a store because my then 13mo didn't have shoes on and was walking around the store..I didn't even own shoes for him at that point. My oldest son is soon to be 13 and 2 months ago was the first time we ever had any semi serious type problem from being barefoot. My 2 year old did get something in his foot and it went unnoticed until he had an infection...he wouldn't let me near it but a quick trip to the Dr. to have it lanced and drained was all that was needed. He and his foot are all healed up and he still has no interest in wearing shoes. When that happened a friend said to me "now you will start making sure they wear their shoes"...I laughed and thought why? There are calculated risks in everything we do and one little incident in 13 years doesn't seem to risky to me..plus I don't think I could give up the freedom of being barefoot, I wear flip flops until there is more then a few inches of snow on the ground..my fat feet don't like shoes!


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#29 of 79 Old 07-23-2011, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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As a child my mom was militant about us wearing shoes because she did experience a nail in the foot as a child. \\

 

I've come across this one before. It honestly kind of boggles me. I get the broken glass thing, but not the nail thing. I had a nail in the foot as a child, too. It went right through my shoe. I know at least one other person who had the same thing happen. Nails are nasty, and if they're strong and sharp enough to go through wood, the sole of a shoe isn't likely to stop them, yk? However, if it hadn't happened to me, I probably wouldn't think of it that way.

 

Now my kids and I go barefoot most of the time at home and at parks and the toddler is barefoot and naked most of the time (although he has finally learned to put clothes on to go outside)  :) My kids only put shoes on if we are going somewhere where they are required..we once got yelled at in a store because my then 13mo didn't have shoes on and was walking around the store..I didn't even own shoes for him at that point. My oldest son is soon to be 13 and 2 months ago was the first time we ever had any semi serious type problem from being barefoot. My 2 year old did get something in his foot and it went unnoticed until he had an infection...he wouldn't let me near it but a quick trip to the Dr. to have it lanced and drained was all that was needed. He and his foot are all healed up and he still has no interest in wearing shoes. When that happened a friend said to me "now you will start making sure they wear their shoes"...I laughed and thought why? There are calculated risks in everything we do and one little incident in 13 years doesn't seem to risky to me..plus I don't think I could give up the freedom of being barefoot, I wear flip flops until there is more then a few inches of snow on the ground..my fat feet don't like shoes!

 

Definitely. I wore shoes pretty regularly for years. I've largely quit wearing them, because I'm experiencing foot pain of various kinds, as well as slight hammer toes. I don't think people realize how many problems can actually be caused by shoes. (Admittely, in my case, the problem is probably caused by being unable to buy shoes that truly fit properly - but I suspect many people are in shoes that almost fit, but not quite...feet are all different, after all.)

 

I just don't get why this issues seems to prey on people so badly. I think there are risks of various kinds to both wearing shoes and going barefoot, and it's up to each person or parent to decide for themselves and/or their families where they want to draw the lines. Maybe my neighbours are increasing their children's risk of developing foot problems later in life (and maybe not), but I have no interest in going over there and getting in their faces about it, yk?



 


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Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

FYI:  my grandmother and mother (we're talking early 20th to mid-20th century here) had a mortal fear of bare-footing.  They believed that there were special worms that could enter one's feet.  I'm not sure what science that was based upon and they were in area that was mostly rural. 


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

 


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