Today we’re starting with
Note: Babies first -> scroll down for toddlers, preschoolers & parents
When rubbing your baby’s feet, don’t forget about the toes
Why? It encourages body awareness and self-awareness & it feels good
How? After you rub your baby’s foot, also massage each toe. Start at the base with your thumb on the bottom of the toe and your finger on the top of the toe. Massage to the end of the toe. Do all toes on both feet.
Why is it important? Reaching for feet helps babies with body awareness, helps them use both sides of their body and hands and feet in preparation for crawling. This position also strengthens the abdominal muscles and helps babies learn to roll. Forty percent of our body weight is below our waist. When babies reach their feet, their legs sometimes fall to the side, starting a roll.
Some ideas to help your baby reach her feet:
- Bring her hands to her knees, and then feet
- Play peek-a-boo, hiding behind her feet
- Place older siblings’ socks on feet and encourage her to grab them, or try mittens, gloves. No older siblings? Try putting her socks on her foot, but not over her heel.
- Color, colors, everywhere – too hot for socks in your area? Consider using non-toxic washable markers to paint those toes.
Toddlers are all about action. Whether they’re cruising the couch or toddling down the hall they want to move. What are some favorite things toddlers do with their feet? Dance, stomp, and kick!
Dance! Turn up the tunes and let that toddler dance! This is something the whole family can enjoy!
Stomp! Show your kid how it’s done by stomping one foot then the next. Say something fun like “stomp! Stomp! Stomp!” or “Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!” Got any bubble wrap? Tape it to the floor and let the stomping begin.
Kick! Toddlers typically start by walking into a ball, so make it easy for them with something that really moves, like a beach ball. As you little one gains more skills you can try heavier balls, smaller balls, even crunched up paper balls.
Why is all this moving around important?
Toddlers are learning to balance. We do it without thinking, but right now they’re figuring out how to put all of their weight on one foot so they can lift the other foot. Cruising is especially important for this skill because, in order to cruise to the left, you have to first put your weight on your right foot to move your left foot over to the left. That takes some real problem-solving skills!
Developmental Milestones: Babies typically get really good a cruising before they start pushing toys or other objects and taking steps on their own. If your baby is cruising here are some things to help get him to the next step.
- Position toys to encourage him to cruise in both directions (to the right and the left holding onto the couch or another surface)
- Position furniture so he can move from one support to another without letting go. You’ll notice when he’s ready to move on because he’ll let go with one hand, rotate to see what is going on around him and generally have better balance.
- Next, you can space out support surfaces (place a table or box near the place your baby likes to stand and encourage him to move from on to the other. High-interest toys and interacting with you makes it fun!)
Pre-schoolers are learning so much about themselves and others. One thing for today is to build on that natural curiosity about the world around them.
My Feet: Trace around your child’s foot on a piece of paper, a piece of cardboard, or anything you have laying around. Next, teach her child to trace around her own foot. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just fun. If you have time do both feet.
Ask her what she thinks of her drawing.
Does she want to color it?
Does she want to stand on it?
Dance on it?
What are her thoughts about other feet in the house? Engage her in a conversation comparing her feet to other people’s feet.
Maybe she wants to look at (or trace) the feet of her toys, stuffed animals, even the family pet.
Maybe she’s curious about the different animals and their feet and footprints.
Or maybe the conversation will go in a totally different direction. You never know with pre-schoolers!
(Note: I learned the concept of “follow your child’s lead” through the Hanen Program the link takes you to their website.)
- Right / Left
- Large / Small
- Yours / Mine
- Person / Animal
Let’s talk about self-care.
Let’s talk about quiet time.
When was the last time you gave your feet any attention?
Take some time for yourself today. Rub lotion on your feet, give yourself a massage or try rolling a ball (golf ball, tennis ball, racquetball) under your feet to get the knots out. Or go all out and freeze a bottle of water, when it’s nice and chilled, roll it under your feet for a massage and some cool relief.
Thank you for sharing this space with me
Take from this post what is helpful and leave the rest or save it for another day. Today, you are there for your child. You know what your child needs. It’s not the dancing or the drawing, or even the baby massage that matters most. What matters most is the relationship. Keep doing what you do best…loving your child.