5 Ways to Trick Your Toddler into Wearing Shoes
If you haven’t had your bub freak out as you try to don a pair of shoes on their tubby feet, you must be a Miracle Mum. For the rest of us, it’s a daily battle. If you’re lucky, your effort won’t mean much if your child squirms their way out of their shoes within seconds.
But if it’s a bad day, you may be facing the full works – tears, wailing, moaning like it’s the end of the earth. Not fun (ever) if you’re running late for that play date or child care drop-off.
We know you’d do anything to avoid a tanty, so here are our top suggestions for keeping those shoes on your kids.
1. Don’t make it a big deal
Show toddlers you’re anxious about how they’ll respond to wearing shoes and they’ll deliver just what you expected by screaming bloody murder.
Instead, show them it’s no big deal. Feign indifference on the point of shoes. Leave them lying around within easy reach of your child and soon enough they may just succumb to their curiosity and start treating their footwear nemeses as a play thing.
Once the familiarity is there, it’s not a far step to get them into their shoes – in fact, they may even show enough autonomy to pick the pair they want to wear each day.
2. Give them autonomy
This takes us to our second point – give your child some autonomy. Children excel in the art of mimicry – and there’s nothing they love more than playing adult. If they’re old enough to be wearing shoes, they’ll have personality enough (not to mention the stubbornness) to exert their own style.
Let your child OWN their look by defining it. If your child wants to wear sneakers to a wedding, so be it. What harm can it do? (In fact, I think it shows your kid’s got panache).
This also comes down to giving your child a bit of purchasing power. That means giving them a say in what shoes they like to wear – or at least taking their personality and interests into account.
When in doubt, buying something with a Frozen character on it is sure to work. But anything with a print of your child’s favourite animal or phenomenon is bound to get a nod of approval from the fashion tyrant – and that’s at least a step closer to getting the footwear on their feet
3. Play master trickster
There’s always the cloak-and-dagger approach to parenting that might not be the best solution, but at least gives you a sense of relief that you’ve finally got one up over your mini dictator.
You might not be able to magic a pair of pumps onto your child’s foot, but you can distract your child while your partner in crime sneaks those sneakers on. Do whatever it takes – use their favourite toy as decoy or make the most of feeding time. Hype up that activity and with any hope, they won’t even notice your ruse.
4. Choose soft sole shoes
Kids seem to universally abhor hard sole shoes but have a soft spot for soft soles. It’s probably something to do with the sock-like cosiness of soft soles – if I could get away with walking around everywhere in my socks, I’d throw out my shoe collection altogether … OK, maybe that’s taking it a step too far.
But it does seem that many kids find soft sole shoes easier to wear. They give kids greater flexibility and mimic barefoot movement, making them a comfortable intermediary between barefoot and the harder soled shoes they’ll start wearing later on.
5. Pick your battles
At the end of the day, you’ve got to ask yourself: Is it really worth it? After all, barefoot is still best for a developing child.
If your little Tarzan doesn’t want to wear shoes, don’t force the issue. Slip a pair into your handbag just in case they decide to go clambering over playground equipment – and in that case, the playtime acts as perfect bribery for them to don their shoes.
Finding ways to get shoes on your child and keep them on can be a b…other. So if you have any hacks of your own that have encouraged your kids to wear shoes, do us all a favour and comment below! And if you’re looking for more life-saving child-rearing hacks (you’re welcome), check out some of our other bits of advice on our Bobux blog today.