There is a study indicating that the habit of taking too much care of the children can have bad effects on their development and, despite what one thinks, barefoot children are more intelligent.
Nowadays people take care of their children too much. There are footwear known as footwear for the newborns and shoes for crawling. In this article we´ll try to offer scientific arguments to what it is necessary to leave barefoot the non-walking babies. We used the method of analysis and critical reading of different bibliographic sources related to the psychomotor development of the child, treatises of neurology and the main theories on the development of child intelligence. We find that the physical movement and sensory stimulation of the baby through the bare feet is a factor of acceleration of growth, proprioceptive development and intellectual development of the child.
The study was carried out at the Complutense University in Madrid.
Why are the baby feet so important?
Baby feet are much more sensitive than other parts of their body, until they are eight or nine months old. That is why in the first few months their feet are of the highest importance: they inform the baby of the world surrounding them, and the baby keeps touching and sucking on their feet because they are full of nerve endings. Later on in life the skin on the feet loses this high amount of sensibility.
Continuously putting shoes on babies who do not walk deprives them of tactile information and the perception of the position and movement of the feet in space, which play an important role in the central nervous system. That is why the development of manual visual coordination and the acquisition of this tactile and perceptive information are necessary for the development of motor skills.
The study is also based on the Piaget intelligence development stages, focusing primarily on the first stage, the sensory-motor stage (that lasts from birth until the baby is two), when the manipulation of movement and learning to aptly organize the sensory information play important role. This is when we get the first notion of self, of space, time and the idea of cause and effect relationship.
This is why feet can contribute to the development of baby intelligence, and the intelligence develops through:
- The growth of the nervous system, that is the ability to make differences and distinguish more and more stimuli which has to do with the differentiation of the nerve cells.
- The experience of interaction with the physical world, that is the manipulation and object control. It means getting to know how the objects function by using them. The intelligence development wouldn´t be possible without this, since the growth of the nervous system can´t be achieved without experience. Along with hands and mouth, feet play an important role here.
- The need to learn. Human mind is inclined to achieving cognitive balance. Each time we experience an external stimulus we don´t understand we make an effort to figure it out. The cognitive system tends to search for new information in order to regain balance, which is why the interest in learning has to do with finding increasingly complex and stable knowledge structures.
Eventually babies start discovering their bodies which is when shoes begin to limit their sensitivity and movement. When they are 6/7 months old, infants usually put their feet in the mouth in the process of getting to know themselves and providing new sensations and motor experiences that contribute to the development of their intelligence.
In addition, supporting the bare feet at all kind of surfaces, also the irregular ones, contributes to the development of the muscles. Shoes add extra weight to the feet, preventing them from moving freely. This is why children are taking their shoes off whenever they get more control over their bodies.
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