Caring for children’s feet

Extra time with the children at home means now is the perfect time to teach them some life skills. Activities such as- sorting the recycling, frying an egg and cleaning the sink will really help them out later in life. Other skills you should add to the homeschooling lists are: cutting their toenails, checking their feet and tying their shoelaces. It is unheard of to have this much time with your children and it can be daunting trying to think of ways to fill it so here’s some foot-care tips to try with your children, think of it like as “at home pedicure!”

Caring for your children’s feet

Do this after their bath or treat them to a hot water foot bath for 10 minutes:

  • Dry their feet properly, making sure to get the towel drying in between each toe (WARNING- this can cause a lot of giggling!)
  • Get your child to look at the soles of their feet, they should know what their feet look like so that they will recognise if anything ever changes.
  • Trim their toenails. Use a good, sharp pair of clippers or some nippers. (Scissors aren’t recommended as the blades pass over each other causing the nail to tear rather than cut). If you are using nippers (special toenail clippers), as we do in clinic then, a top podiatry tip is to start in the middle of each nail and do little cuts going towards each side. Do not try and cut the whole nail in one go. Bad nail cutting technique can cause ingrown toenails so it is important to get this right.
  • Moisturise their feet, it is good to keep the skin of their feet in good condition as feet take a lot of rubbing in their shoes.
  • Talk about the importance of good sock and shoe hygiene. It is vital to wear fresh socks every day as this reduces the chance of fungal skin problems occurring. Alternating shoes each day is another great way to reduce bacterial issues, giving shoes a day off to air. If they do have a favourite pair, make sure they are able to dry out properly overnight.

All of our advice needs to be adapted to suit the age of your child. Make all these tips part of a fun routine for under 5’s, explain it all to under 10’s and then hopefully they have it in their subconscious for their teenage years.

Shoe Lacing

Do you remember being taught this? How old were you? Velcro fastening shoes are so common nowadays that children don’t really need to learn this until they are 8 years old, in our experience. When they get their first pair of lace-up trainers it is tempting to tie their laces for them- if they are over 8 years old DON’T as they need to learn.  Tying laces is a difficult skill as it requires a lot of dexterity in their fingers and will help them develop this ability that may be useful elsewhere in their lives. Here are our top tips to help you:

  • Make a cardboard shoe shape with laces to practice with.
  • Teach them to pull up the slack in the laces before they start tying to make sure their shoes are supporting their foot correctly.
  • Use the 2 turns around at the start as that helps keep the tension when they are tying the rest of the knot.
  • Keep practising, as soon as they have managed it, keep practising! It will get quicker and easier with time.

Two turns at the start of tying laces.

Good luck with your life-skill homeschooling, remember this won’t be forever. If you are concerned about an issue with your child’s feet, book a telehealth appointment with us.