WE ASK OUR RESIDENT FOOTHEALTH EXPERT, BOB HARDY, SOME KEY QUESTIONS ABOUT CARING FOR FEET AND THE IMPORTANCE OF FITTED SHOES...
WHAT SIMPLE THINGS CAN I DO TO KEEP MY BABY’S FEET HEALTHY?
- Stimulate your baby’s muscles by tickling their toes, feet and legs, and let them kick around a lot.
- Bathe their feet daily in warm, soapy water and dry in between the toes carefully.
- Let them go barefoot whenever possible.
- Keep nails trimmed straight across and not too short.
- Inspect their feet regularly for any signs of damage or infection.
WHAT SHOULD I TRY TO AVOID?
Try not to put your baby in sleepsuits, socks, tights, or bootees which are too tight and restrict their toes and feet. Where possible keep to natural fabrics as all synthetic socks and tights stop the skin on the feet breathing properly.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TAKE MY BABY TO BE FITTED FOR SHOES?
From their first pair of shoes until they are about two years old, you should aim to get their shoes fit checked by a trained shoe fitter after 6 – 8 weeks and then as recommended by a shoe fitter until the shoes are outgrown.
HOW FAST DO MY BABY’S FEET GROW?
In their first year their feet will grow about 25mm (three whole English shoe sizes) and then about 16mm (2 whole sizes) each year after that until they’re five years old.
WHY IS IS SO IMPORTANT TO GET SHOES WITH THE RIGHT FIT FOR MY BABY?
Less than a third of children have an “average” foot width. Their feet are changing internally, externally and they experience up to seven stages of walking development. To allow us to walk correctly shoes need to fit much more precisely than any other item of clothing. So an accurate fit achieved by shoes available in half sizes and width fittings carried out by a trained shoe fitter are essential to allow healthy development to take place.
HOW CAN I TELL WHEN MY BABY'S SHOES NEED REPLACING?
It is possible to follow a few simple checks at home (you can find information for this online at clarks.co.uk) however if you have bought your baby’s shoes from a store selling Clarks, then they will happily check them, for free, any time you care to call in to the store.
A baby’s foot contains no fully formed bones at all. The shape of your child’s foot is mapped out in soft, pliable bone that is similar to cartilage, and at this stage the foot has no discernible arch.
The soft cartilage-like structure in your child’s foot will be starting to ossify – gradually forming most of the bones that will become the complete structure of their fully grown foot.
There will be 25 bones forming in your child’s foot at this point. The navicular bone – situated at the point where shoes are usually fastened – is yet to form at this stage, and there is a fatty pad on the instep where the arch is gradually forming over the next few years.
Between two and four years of age, the navicular bone will start to ossify, and the puppy fat around the bones will start to disappear as the foot begins to take on a more adult shape.
Surprisingly, the foot will have more bones in it at this stage than at any other time – 45 separate bone centres that will begin to grow together over the next 15 years of your child’s life.
SCHOOL AGE AND BEYOND
The secondary bone centres that have developed by around four years of age are still in the process of fusing together and will continue until around 16-18 years. The puppy fat will reduce and the arch of the foot will become more visible and functional by the age of six. The growth rate should begin to slow to around one whole size per year.
We caught up with Kirsti-Nicole Hadley, founder of Momma Loves and co-founder of land of kids festival. Kirsti shares with us her little boy’s keepsakes box and how it’s grown over the past three years...
“I really wanted to keep a record for Sonny for when he’s older. So far we’ve collected a lock of hair from his first haircut, and his first shoes – he lost one, so we bought a second pair and he lost one of those too, so we’re cherishing two left feet!
We also go to a lot of festivals for my job so we have his first wristbands. We’ve kept a note of all the funny things he’s said too. They’re all things that take us back to a special time and place, and help us remember things that might otherwise be forgotten.
I guess the thing I have the most emotional attachment to is the short film Sonny’s dad made on our first family holiday.. There are so many firsts in that film – first time abroad, first time in the ocean, first time eating soooooo much sand on the beach. That film is full to the brim with happiness.”
The best things in life really are free...”
A SUPER EASY RECIPE TO RECORD AND TREASURE THOSE TINY LITTLE FEET - OR A GORGEOUS GIFT FOR GRANDPARENTS.
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead until smooth and stretchy. If the dough feels sticky add a bit more flour. If it feels dry and crumbly, add a bit more water.
Divide the dough in half and press each half into a small, lightly floured bowl (slightly bigger than the baby’s feet), then turn it out onto a floured surface – you should have a perfectly smooth, flat surface as a canvas for your baby’s foot.
Gently but firmly push your baby’s foot into the dough, then lift straight off again – if it’s not quite right, knead the dough and try again! Repeat with the other foot or try a bigger bowl to do both feet at once. If you want to make a hanging decoration, simply poke a hole through the top with a pencil.
Preheat your oven to 100˚C/200˚F/lowest gas setting, then put your foot impressions on greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 3 hours, then leave to cool before painting in the colour of your choice – acrylic paints are best!
MAKIING YOUR OWN RUBBER STAMP IS EASY; CREATE SOMETHING FUN, AND JUST ADD FABRIC PAINT TO CUSTOMISE YOUR BABY'S VEST AND BABYGROS WITH YOUR OWN UNIQUE DESIGN.
Prepare your design – either directly onto rubber, or use greaseproof paper to trace the design. Try to get your image as close as possible to the edges – it makes it easier to cut.
Slice away the negative space around your image using your lino cutter, making sure there are no jagged edges.
Don’t cut too deep – just enough so your design stands out. Leave plenty of rubber as a base so it’s nice and sturdy when you’re stamping.
Dip into some fabric paint and try on a piece of paper first, then wipe clean and tidy up any edges until you get the perfect print.
Stamp your fabric and leave to dry!
Try a simple block design at first; once you’ve got the hang of it, try carving out sections inside the design too, and make something really special!
Selected with the help of one of our favourite Interior and Baby stylists, Julie Mansfield, whose work you will often see in Vogue Bambini and ST Magazine amongst other titles.
Contemporary craft... home sweet home!
Less is more in the modern nursery, Chose simple styling to add a clean and modern feel to your baby's room. The trend for craft inspired pieces continues, add pops of colour, be bold with graphics and play with scale.
Our favourite is the wooden stool with fun contrasting legs, and is an easily achievable piece of DIY!
Rainbow sound blocks
available from little-circus.com
Sidney By Donna Wilson
available from scp.co.uk
Magna Rabbit Wallpaper
available from coxandcox.co.uk
Alice stool available
Pie Chart Throw by Donna Wilson
available from scp.co.uk
Tripod Floor Lamp available
01. Peek A Boo By Janet & Allan Ahlberg.
This classic story is one every child will love.
02. The Rainbow Fish By Marcus Pfister.
A lovely bedtime story book, thanks to the restful colours and soothing, gentle story.
03. The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle.
Babies will love the bright colours, whilst toddlers can count all the caterpillar’s yummy snacks.
04. Goodnight Moon (cloth edition) By Margaret Wise Brown.
The perfect bedtime book, with quiet words and sleepy time pictures to lull your child to sleep.
05. Moo Baa La La La By Sandra Boynton.
Lots of silliness for all ages, with simple rhymes, animal noises and fun illustrations.
06. We Are Going On A Bear Hunt By Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury.
Imagine the fun of being on a bear hunt – through tall wavy grass, swampy mud and a swirling, whirling snowstorm!
It’s never too soon to start reading to your baby – it not only helps them learn language and listening skills, it’s also a lovely way for you to spend quiet time together. Here are a few of our much-loved storybooks to read and cherish.
There’s nothing cuter than tiny footprints printed on a plate – at The Ceramics Café, you can create something with your little one that’s unique and special.
HERE ARE A FEW OF
OUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO
HAVE SOME FUN WITH YOUR
LITTLE ONE, WHETHER YOU’RE
FEELING A LITTLE CREATIVE
OR FULL OF ENERGY THAT
NEEDS TO ESCAPE WE’VE
GOT IT COVERED...
Aquababies is not just about teaching essential baby swimming skills, it’s about having fun too. Find a class near you, and make a big splash!
Little Kickers is football training for toddlers – fun, informal classes that build confidence, co-ordination through lots of ball-kicking fun!
Fancy watching a movie? Try Newbies at Odeon cinemas, where you can take your newborn and watch the latest releases without worrying if they get a bit noisy!
Brings stories and nursery rhymes to life through specially developed yoga-inspired moves, combining exercise with lots of fun.
We caught up with lifestyle and portrait photographer Klodjana Dervishi and she gave us some great tips on taking beautiful family photos.
Look for good light. Babies move fast and it’s easy to get blurry photos in low light. But even a smartphone camera can produce amazing photographs with the right amount of light. Move closer to a window – baby can enjoy the view, you can snap away.
Keep it simple and avoid clutter. Remove anything that can distract from your cute little one. It’s true, less is more.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Choose the right time. Photographing a tired/cranky/hungry baby is not going to happen. Babies love to smile – when all their needs have been met, of course.
Turn it into a game. Anything goes. From singing a fun tune to playing peek-a-boo from behind the camera.
Let it get messy. Feasting on carrot purée with both hands in the mouth? Cute! Don’t run to clean the table, take a picture. You’ll want to remember these moments. And you’ll love that colourfully messy finger painting session too, despite the clean up duty that awaits.
POINT OF VIEW
Get down to their level. Sometimes it makes a big difference to lay on the ground and see the world from their perspective. Try that while they are stacking up those blocks or pushing toy trains around.
Don’t forget the details. Tiny hands, tiny toes, those perfect eyelashes. They grow up fast.
we’d love to see your favourite moments Tag your photos with #clarksmoments AND visit cLarksmoments.com
The Clarks museum is packed with over 300 years of shoe history – it’s not only a fascinating insight into how shoes have evolved over the centuries, but also a wonderful place to find inspiration for our latest designs. We love the shape and pattern of this pair of boy’s first shoes from the early 1970s – they remind us of the drawings from Enid Blyton stories. They were called Bimbo and were designed for those all-important first steps.
One of the many things we’ve learned over the years is that parents want stylish, beautiful shoes for their little ones, and also shoes that support and care for their growing feet. These little shoes are a great example of how we brought these features together in the 1970s, and we’re still doing it today.
A child’s first steps will unlock a whole new world of adventures for them. Everything a child sees and does for the first time is a magical experience and the great outdoors is just waiting to be explored.
Choose a lovely sunny day and pack up a basket of yummy sandwiches, cupcakes, juice and a rug. Ask your child to gather together a collection of favourite cuddly toys and head out into the fresh air. Wander along the street to the nearest expanse of lush green grass. Unfurl the rug, spread out your feast while your little one gets the guests ready to enjoy a teddy bear’s picnic.
While away the afternoon: blow fluffy dandelion clocks and discover the time, squash a yellow buttercup into your chin to find out if you like butter, thread a daisy chain headdress fit for a fairy princess, collect fallen cherry blossom petals and scatter them on the wind.
Tire out tiny legs with a game of hide and seek, kick a ball or play a game of grandmother’s footsteps. As the sun begins to slip towards the horizon see how long your shadows have grown, running and jumping on them as you wind your way back home.Adventurewalksbooks.co.uk
Music festivals have become increasingly family-friendly over the past decade, with lots of fun activities for children (and grown-ups) of all ages. If you don’t fancy one of the big events, you’ll find lots of smaller family festivals all over the UK. Here are a few of our favourites.
Deer Shed, North Yorkshire
25th - 27th July 2014
A family festival full of great music
BEAUTIFUL DAYS, DEVON
15th - 17th August 2014
Winner of BEST FAMILY FESTIVAL
at the UK Festival Awards 2011.
13th - 15th June 2014
Eco-friendly celebration of music,
dance, colour, culture and community.
JUST SO, CHESHIRE
15th - 17th August 2014
A truly special festival where you play,
revitalise and return to the world full of joy.
GREEN MAN, wales
15th - 18th August 2014
Claims to be the most family-friendly festival
in Wales, with bags of free fun and activities.
Dates TBA (Check website)
The big bash for little people - the only festival
where all the entertainment is for children.
A child’s first steps will unlock a whole new world of adventures for them and you. Everything a child sees and does for the first time is a magical experience and the great outdoors is just waiting to be explored. So pull on some warm boots, wrap up snuggly in gloves, hats and scarves and take your precious bundle out onto the streets and discover some of your very own outdoor adventures.
Give yourself plenty of time: an hour can be whiled away under a conker tree in a garden square; a short walk can become an epic trail. Children love to hide and be discovered: chose a safe and secret place together to build a camp. Go on a bear hunt.
Catch falling autumn leaves in the park. Or pile them up in vast clumps and kick them in the air. See who can gather the biggest and shiniest of all conkers; enjoy the delight on your child’s face as you help them unpeel the prickly green shell and reveal their prize.
Count your steps as tired feet wend their way home. Try not to step on the cracks in the pavement or the bears might get you. Reward your little adventurer with a frothy hot chocolate and enjoy their glowing cheeks and the bonus of a good night’s sleep ahead.
Visit adventurewalksforfamilies.co.uk for more ideas and inspiration.
NOAMI EATWELL, OUR FIRST SHOES PRODUCT MANAGER, CHOOSES HER FAVOURITES FROM THE AUTUMN/WINTER COLLECTION
These are my favourite boy’s boots of the season – a perfect mini-me version of dad’s shoes. I love the laces, and there’s an inside zip to make them easy to get on (and off) wriggly feet. The colour of the leather keeps them casual and with the sole in white they also feel a little sporty - easy to wear styled up or down.SHOP NOW
I love the fresh bright colours, elastic laces and rip tape straps on these little shoes – they’re so much fun! The clever mix of materials gives them added interest and a sporty look. These will look great worn with soft comfy joggers and a snuggly cable knit jumper.SHOP NOW
When I first saw the drawings of this little cowboy boot I knew we had something special. The sparkly soft leather and bright pink piping is bang on trend for autumn. A perfect match for leggings or jeans, or woolly tights and a pretty little dress. Can I have a grown-up pair please?SHOP NOW