Growing up barefoot in NZ, then transitioning to being mostly barefoot in 2015 has lead me to help others on their journey to ‘finding their feet’.
It was during the last big lockdown in the UK – January 2021 that a friend suggested I write a book. So I embarked on exploring topics – the body, health or feet? Having been a health practitioner for over 25 years, and infant massage instructor how could my words be most useful was the big question.
As I began my research it became clear that if I was to really make a difference to people’s lives I had to go back to the beginning. Targeting the newest feet to get them on the right path to success. I had no idea that I would have so much more to learn about the early development of the human body! Most anatomy taught is based on the adult form.
The immature foot
An X-ray of an infant foot (see below) convinced me that I had to do something. I hadn’t thought about the fact that bones take time to grow. Did you know that a child’s foot does not fully mature until they are 15 years old. It became very clear from that point that my mission had to be to share this information with parents. They are the ones who could really influence the development of their child’s foot by what they put on them (or not).
Barefoot is best
To explain the importance and the why behind ‘barefoot is best’ and why ‘finding their feet’ is important, I expanded my research and content to include how the foot influences the physical developmental milestones. After all the aim of every child is to eventually get up on to their feet and walk. In doing so this is where my biggest lesson came from.
I had to connect the brain to the foot. A baby’s first movements start in the womb and are involuntary. The brain stem bascially teaches a baby how to move. These movements help develop the neural connections through the body. The longest connection to be made in their body is from the brain to the feet.
The involuntary movements are part of the primitive reflex symphony. When my boys were little (22 years ago!) I knew about the grasp reflex in the hand, the rooting reflex in the cheek and a few others. I had NO IDEA how important these were and so my research again expanded my understanding of growth and development.
What we put our children’s feet in matters….from day one.
A journey starts with just one step..
‘Finding Their Feet – Every parent’s guide to milestones and movement’ describes a baby’s journey from the womb to walking. I’ve included lots of activities, links to videos to help parents navigate this crucially important time in their baby’s life.
As I was researching and writing it I actually had waves of guilt come over me. I wish I had known this information when my boys (now 22 &19) were babies. So many challenges faced by children these days could be avoided with a little preventative attention. I want parents to be confident and understand their baby from day one.
I’m on a mission to help the next generation put their best feet forward and the only way this can happen is through sharing with parents the key aspects of physical development – and this is the key bit……gross motor skills come before anything else, baby’s have a blueprint of what they need to succeed…….I couldn’t find any of this information in the parenting books I read.
So I had to write about it instead…..download a free chapter of Finding Their Feet here https://bernielandels.com/book/
Finding Their Feet can be purchased from my website or any online book store https://books2read.com/u/4DKBze