All new parents learn pretty quickly that there are very few aspects of your child’s existence that don’t require your intervention. Whether that realisation comes as you clean a surprising amount of dandruff out of their cot, or as you use a nasal aspirator to clear their nose, everyone eventually figures out just how many things we assume happen naturally actually require a parent’s attention. In terms of your child’s footcare, there is a lot more to it than simply buying the right shoes and making sure they don’t stub their toes. Here, we’re going to give some advice on how to look after your child’s feet.
If you are paying close attention to your child’s feet, then one of the first things to know is that it is perfectly normal for children to have flat feet, or what may appear to be fallen arches. In fact, the arches have not really fallen, they just have yet to form. This is extremely common in children, especially if they haven’t started walking yet, but arches will usually form by age 7. Even if this does not happen, flat feet are not a major medical condition, and can usually be easily treated by buying proper footwear, so there is no need to be alarmed if you can’t see a clearly defined arch.
Buy the Right Footwear
As cute as tiny pairs of designer shoes may look, you probably don’t want to spend too much on them, as they are not generally the best thing for your child’s feet. Firstly, babies’ feet grow quite quickly, so the shoes probably won’t last long enough to make buying them worth the money. And parents who do may be tempted to get as much use out of them as possible, even when the shoes start to get a little tight. This can be very bad for the development of your child’s feet, which will need new shoes regularly to ensure they have room to grow. In fact, if your child has not started walking, you don’t need hard-soled shoes, but rather soft shoes that will offer mobility, flexibility, and room for expansion.
The same can be said for socks, which can limit the circulation of blood in the feet if they are too tight. Socks should also be made of at least 50% natural material, like wool or cotton, so that the child’s feet can breathe. This can help stave off issues like verrucas, or athlete’s foot.
Let Them Go Barefoot
As important as getting the right shoes is, it is also important to let them go barefoot regularly. Never forget that we have evolved over the course of millions of years, and it is only in the past few hundred years that we have come to expect people to wear shoes outside or in the company of others. The truth is that children need their feet to experience a full range of motion to allow their muscles to develop properly, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that constantly putting them in shoes is protecting them.
Clip Their Nails (Properly)
Most of us clip our own nails, but of course, young children need someone to do that for them. Pay attention to this point, because you may be surprised to learn that you have been clipping your own nails wrong for years. Because of the shape of our nails (and the clippers), many people assume that they should be cutting them in a curved fashion. In fact, doing so could mean that the nails will grow outwards instead of straight ahead, which could easily lead to ingrown toenails, which in turn can lead to infection. Resist the temptation to cut your nails or theirs into a stereotypical “nail shape”, and simply cut across in a straight line instead.
Parents have to keep track of a lot of different things when it comes to raising children, and feet are a perfect example of how many new parents can be caught by surprise. It can seem overwhelming to see how much thought needs to go into things we have always taken for granted, but rest assured that these lessons will eventually become second nature, and you will learn how to approach all these different areas in time.