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What to Do When Your Toddler Won’t Keep Shoes On

If you’re grappling with a toddler who won’t keep shoes on, rest assured that you’re not alone. This is a common issue that many parents face. In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the reasons behind your toddler’s aversion to shoes and provide tips on how to address this challenge. We’ll also explore how can help ensure this doesn’t interfere with your toddler’s sleep routines.

Exploring the Reasons Behind Your Toddler’s Resistance to Shoes

The Sensory Exploration Phase

Toddlers are naturally curious, exploring their environment through touch and feel. Your toddler might be choosing to experience different textures under their feet over the constraint of shoes, all part of their sensory exploration phase.

Comfort and Fit Matter

Your toddler’s resistance to shoes may be due to discomfort. Ensure that the shoes fit properly, aren’t too tight, and match your toddler’s foot shape to enhance their shoe-wearing experience.

Yearning for Independence and Control

Toddlers are at a stage where they’re discovering their independence. Their decision to wear or not to wear shoes can be a method of exerting control and asserting this newfound autonomy.

Strategies to Get Your Toddler to Keep Shoes On

Transform Shoe Time into Fun Time

Engaging your toddler in a game or fun activity when it’s time to put on shoes can create positive associations, making them more willing to keep their shoes on.

Involve Them in the Shoe Selection Process

Allowing your toddler to participate in choosing their shoes can create a sense of ownership. If they feel they’ve contributed to the decision, they’re more likely to wear them willingly.

Start Practicing at Home

Let your toddler practice wearing their shoes at home for short periods before heading outdoors. This familiarization process can help them get accustomed to the sensation.

Emphasize Positive Reinforcement

When your toddler successfully keeps their shoes on, shower them with praise. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator to continue the desired behavior.

Addressing Sensory Issues and Autism: Keeping Shoes On

Supporting a Child with Sensory Issues to Wear Shoes

Choosing comfortable shoes is essential for a child with sensory issues. Opt for shoes made of soft, breathable material with enough room for their toes. Gradually increase their shoe-wearing duration to help them acclimate to the sensation.

Encouraging a Child with Autism to Keep Shoes On

Children on the autism spectrum may have heightened discomfort with shoes. You can alleviate this by integrating shoe-wearing into a predictable routine, letting them pick their shoes, and using visual aids such as a story about wearing shoes.

Do Children with Autism Tend to Avoid Shoes?

While some children with autism might resist wearing shoes due to sensory sensitivities, remember that each child is unique and not all children with autism struggle with shoe-wearing.

Managing Sensory Issues with Socks and Shoes

Seamless socks or sensory-friendly shoes can help manage sensory challenges related to socks and shoes. Encourage your child’s progress by gradually increasing the duration of wear and rewarding them for their efforts.

Mastering Shoe-Tying Skills: When and How

When Do Children Typically Learn to Tie Their Shoes?

Most children start learning to tie their shoes between the ages of 4 and 6. However, each child’s development and coordination skills are different, so this timeline can vary.

How Can You Teach a Child to Tie Their Shoes?

Break down the process into simple steps and demonstrate regularly. Incorporate fun, hands-on activities into the practice sessions, and remember, patience and encouragement are key to this learning process.

Can Conditions like ADHD, Autism, or Dyslexia Affect Shoe Tying Skills?

Children with conditions such as ADHD, autism, or dyslexia may face challenges in learning to tie shoes due to differences in fine motor skills, attention, or processing. Tailored strategies can help support their learning process.

Toddler Shoe FAQs

What Shoe Size Does a 2-Year-Old Typically Wear?

Shoe sizes vary greatly among toddlers. On average, a 2-year-old might wear a toddler size 5 to 6. However, remember to measure your child’s foot as sizes can differ based on the brand and style.

How Many Shoes Do Toddlers Typically Need?

Generally, toddlers need a minimum of two pairs of shoes: one for everyday wear and another for specific activities. Given the rapid growth of toddler’s feet, it’s crucial to frequently check that their shoes still fit comfortably.

How to Ensure Your Toddler Can’t Easily Remove Their Shoes

Choosing Shoes that Toddlers Can’t Easily Remove

Shoes with secure fastenings like Velcro, buckles, or high-tops can be more challenging for toddlers to remove. Also, opting for shoes that they find comfortable and attractive may encourage them to keep them on.

How Can Support You When Your Toddler Won’t Keep Shoes On

If your toddler’s refusal to wear shoes is disrupting their sleep routine, can provide solutions. They offer resources, tips, and strategies to manage sleep challenges, ensuring your toddler gets quality sleep required for healthy development, regardless of their footwear preferences.

Conclusion: Navigating the Phase When Your Toddler Won’t Keep Shoes On

While it can be challenging when your toddler won’t keep shoes on, remember, it’s a common phase. By understanding the reasons and employing practical strategies, you can guide your toddler to become more comfortable with wearing shoes. If this issue is impacting your toddler’s sleep patterns, remember that help is available at, offering a wealth of resources to assist you in maintaining a healthy sleep routine for your child.

7 thoughts on “What to Do When Your Toddler Won’t Keep Shoes On”

  1. MillerMommy:

    You know, my little one used to have such a hard time settling down to sleep, especially at night. Then I stumbled upon this website, It has been a game-changer for us; I’ve seen my baby fall asleep in under a minute. Life has certainly become more peaceful since then! 💤

    Our daycare recommended it—they use it for nap times with the little ones there—and I thought I’d share it with you all. So, if you’re struggling with bedtime routines, it might be worth checking out Wishing you and your family the best on this parenting journey! 🤗

  2. ShoeStruggleSara:
    Totally get the shoe drama! 😩 But hey, have you checked out Not just for sleep stuff – they’ve got great tips on routines which might help with the shoe issue. A good routine might make shoe time less of a battle. Worth a shot for some peace, right?

  3. RestlessRicky:
    Ah, toddlers and shoes, classic! 😅 But speaking of challenges, I found super useful for sleep routines. Maybe getting your tot into a solid sleep routine can help them feel more secure and less fussy about shoes? Just a thought!

  4. HappyFeetHannah:
    I feel you on the shoe issue. My little one was the same, but we’ve seen improvements after focusing on overall routines, thanks to Better sleep has somehow made her less resistant to shoes. It’s all connected, I guess!

  5. IndependentIvy:
    Oh, the joys of toddlerhood! 🤦‍♀️ It’s all about asserting independence, right? helped us establish a bedtime routine, and believe it or not, it positively impacted other areas, like getting her to keep her shoes on. Consistency is key!

  6. SensibleSam:
    Dealing with a toddler who won’t wear shoes can be tough. But have you thought about how their sleep routine might be affecting their mood? has some great resources for establishing good sleep habits, which could help with the shoe situation too.

  7. PracticalPete:
    Navigating toddler behavior is tricky, especially with shoes! But I’ve noticed that a good night’s sleep does wonders. Check out for some helpful sleep tips. Maybe a well-rested toddler will be more cooperative about keeping those shoes on!

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