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The Right Shoes to Get Your Child Moving

How you can help at home: Shoes designed to move help kids develop coordination, which is crucial to development.

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By Amy Kaiser, Consulting Educator

It is important in physical education class and at home for children to have shoes that are good for movement. Many styles of shoes are designed for fashion and not for function. It is not the cost of the shoes that is important, but how they fit and move.

Finally and most important, use those shoes. Kindergarten children should spend lots of time moving. Encourage your child to gallop like a horse, jump like a kangaroo, hop on one foot and run like a gazelle.

These games spark the imagination and help a small child to get physically ready to read.

Gross motor skills such as running and skipping are the foundation for fine motor skills such as writing and paper cutting. Anytime children are practicing skills that cross the mid-line of their body, they are working to strengthen the connection between the right and left brain. Those brain connections are crucial for reading across a page. Any actions that pair the right hand with left foot, or left hand with right foot, knee or side are strengtheners for the right-left brain connection.

Amy Kaiser is a physical education teacher specialist for the Duluth Public Schools in Minnesota. A stay-at-home mom for several years, she re-entered the education field and has been working as an elementary physical education specialist for the past 12 years. Ms. Kaiser serves on district and state curriculum committees and was recently honored as the 2005 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year in Minnesota.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

05/19/2008:
"This is in response to the mother with flat footed children. My son was flat footed. He cried with leg pain. At the age of 7-8 I finally found help. There is a surgical procedure that can be performed to help form an arch in the foot. It's called an MBA implant. I found a foot surgeon in Wayne, Mi. that performs them. They implant a titanium screw in the foot that prevents the foot from flattening out and forms an arch. Our experience was a good one. My son no longer has pain and an awesome arch. We had one foot at a time done. We also had to have the achilles tendon lengthened so we had a cut on the back of the foot and one small incision on the inner part of each foot. "
01/28/2008:
"need suggestions for shoe brands for toddler. thanks"
07/16/2007:
"this article is very informative however is there a recommended shoe or brand that is best? also I am finding this website to be GREAT, I have three young boys and am a stay at home mother your ideas are very refreshing. "
05/17/2007:
"I have 2 children with flat feet, and my son complins a lot with leg pain. I try to choose shoes with good arch support, especially since they have no arch, but he still cries. What do you suggest for flat-footed children?"
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