19 answers

Socks and Shoe on a Child That Is Never Happy

Does anyone have any ideas my daughter who is 5 hates to wear socks. They hurt she says and she complains about her shoes. We have tried seemless which for a while works. Shoes we change constantly. It is a battle everyday. help.. mom losing her mind

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi C.,

When my girls were small, it was nearly impossible to keep socks and/or shoes on them. LOL! Now, I experience that with my granddaughters, ages 5 and 3. What my daughter discovered was that in giving them free rein to choose their own accessories, they felt like such a "big" girl. Now, I'm here to tell you that sometimes the results are hilarious...one blue sock and one red sock. But, hey, their developing their own unique fashion statement. LOL! ~Simply D.

I have to go with Mama-Mia T's advice. Sometimes it's a sign of autism, not ADD, as another person's advice said. ADD can have other disorders that go hand in had with it, but it's not ADD that causes it.
I would have her evaluated.
Good luck to you.

More Answers

Hi C. -

Have you tried Crocs? The toe box is wide enough that it doesn't seem to make the sock seam rub the side of the foot. Plus, they have the lined Crocs now that may mean you could forgo socks. My 5 year old son is extremely particular about socks and is always saying that the socks aren't right or hurt, so I understand the frustration. The Crocs helped us. Hope you find something that works.

A stay-at-home mom of 3 (5, 3 1/2, 1)

We went through this once with our 3yr old and we discovered that wearing the socks inside out worked best for her. The inside of the socks feel "grainy" ya know, and that seems to be what was bothering her. The outside of the sock is more smooth. Good luck!

I have this battle with my 6 year old. Same battle with wearing a coat over long sleeves. It's a sensory issue. We are looking into something called Sensory Integration Disorder for my son. It is when the brain interprets information from the 5 senses differently (usually more intensely) for the child. Everything is more intense for them, food textures are disgusting and may make them gag, sounds that are of normal volume can be horribly loud for them. Same problem with smells. For my son, socks in shoes or sleeves under a coat, are just too much for him. The layers, if they don't sit just right, completely flat, then the tiny bump may be like a knife cutting into them.

my 4 yr old son is similar, very sensitive to materials and how clothes fit him. I let him chose his clothes, and help him make in his choices. He wants all tags off and is very particular about the socks. If you can find socks that are soft and don't have seams that bother her. Shoes are tricky, too. I try shoes that are wider and comfy. Forget 'dress-up" shoes... have you tried crocs? Maybe not the style you prefer, but they are comfortable and you can get the "wool" liner for winter. I know a little girl who wears them all winter long without socks. It sounds like your daughter's issues are very real to her, and it is not uncommon. My daughter is on the other extreme, she couldn't care less about what she's wearing... doesn't notice is shoes are too small or pants too tight. So, let her be the guide in finding shoes that don't hurt her feet. My son is mostly in sweats, because they feel the best to him. Good luck!

Hi C.,

Your daughter sounds like me when I was a little girl. I still tend to have issues with socks, seams, and tags. With socks, there were two issues. One was the seam at the toe that cut across my baby toe knuckle that was very uncomfortable. The other issue was the sock bunching up at the top of my foot where it meets the tongue of the shoe. I found that turning the socks inside out did seem to help, as did finding socks that were more L shaped (less bunching at the top of the foot). I also hated when my socks bunched up under my feet and/or toes, so kinding socks that were a snug fit without being too big was key. My feet are just a little wide and getting shoes that are sized wider than average also helped give my feet enough room so my socks wouldn't bunch up or cause the toe seam to cut into my toes.

I'm finding that my 2 year old son has similar issues, so I'm very careful about how his layered clothes lie against his skin, how his socks fit around his toes, etc.

While I know this is driving you mad (it drove my mom mad, and me too for that matter), I'm sure there is a solution to the problem. I would try some of the simpler suggestions first, like turning socks inside out or trying lined crocs. (Although I have heard crocs are not really good for your feet because the toebox is SO big that regular shoes all feel too tight.)

If that doesn't work, then look into what Suzanne posted about sensory disorders. Talk to your daughter's pediatrician and see what kind of information you can get there as well.

Good luck!

I have to go with Mama-Mia T's advice. Sometimes it's a sign of autism, not ADD, as another person's advice said. ADD can have other disorders that go hand in had with it, but it's not ADD that causes it.
I would have her evaluated.
Good luck to you.

check out sensory integration disorders and see if she fits the profile-then find a good occupational therapist ( OT ) to help desensitize her- good luck-she can grow out of it

Give it up. Pick another battle. I pick my battles like this... Will it effect their eternal progression? Will it affect their life as a productive member of society? Will they do it when they are walking down the isle to get married? Could they do it when they meet the president? Socks... well her feet might stink and she might get blisters. Sounds like something that she might decide to change all on her own. Of course, we do not buy new shoes because they have worn out early or stink. That is a consequence that she has chosen.

okay i dont think anybody ever died from not wearing socks. so , respect your daughters wishes, i am sure you would like to think your likes and dislikes are heard. try buying furry shoes to keep her feet warm. i often find that all you need to do is stop fighting about it and eventually she will start wearing socks again or she wont , is it really that important. as far as shoes we wear them for a reason and she will soon learn that if she walks on cold or hot pavement so rather than fight you could have her carry them for a while and only insist when you have to. she will soon find taking them on and off is inconvient or she forget she fighting about it.i hope this is helpful.

I have a daughter who is 6 and I thought I was the only one having this issue with her child. It is a constant battle every morning I went through three different pair of socks this morning and three pairs of shoes. She says they hurt or bother her, they are fine the first few weeks then it all go's down the drain. I am loosing my mind, arguing over something so silly every morning and now its even the lining in her shirts as well, as shoes, and socks.

Can't offer a foolproof sock solution, but I can tell you that this is a very common trait of children who have a sensory integration thing going on with their brains. Is she sensitive to touch in general? Is she cautious about climbing on things? Does she join in with physical games on the playground, or does she hang back a little bit? -- There's a book about this called "The Out-of-Synch Child" which you can find on amazon.com, and those are just a few of the questions it gives you to help you figure out what's going on.

Even if your child doesn't--maybe she's just temperamental about socks--it's good to help you figure out some creative ways of dealing with these quirks, which we all have to some greater or lesser degree. Just a thought--T. content

Is she also bothered by "tight" waistbands and tags in clothing? This is a sign of ADD. She's old enough that you could perhaps have her evaluated. I know this sounds crazy, but I promise it's the case!

Ahhhh. C. I hear your pain. Not only am I a parent of a sensational child, but I am also an Occupational Therapist that works with children with sensory processing disorders. Suzanne gave you some great resources. Some books that are also great for children like your daughter are The Out of Sync Child (Carol Kranowitz), Sensational Children (Lucy Miller) & Raising Your Spirited Child. Not that you probably have much time to read, but they give you a better understanding into what your daughter is feeling and how to help her. If you only have time for one the easiest to read & understand is the Out of Sync Child. Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

Hi C., since you have already triend seamless socks, maybe you have already read up on Sensory Integration Dysfunction... but if not, you may want to look into whether this could be the reason for your daughter's problems with socks and shoes. This is a VERY common problem among kids with sensory issues, and there are things that can be done to help. This website may be helpful: http://www.spdnetwork.org/aboutspd/index.html
I hope this helps!

I don't usually post, but I lived (and live--14 year old daughter now) with this. You have my sympaties, but years of managing this problem (and consulting with anyone who would listen) has taught me a few things.

Given the intensity of the reaction it could be that she has a meaningful tactile sensitivity (like how some people can't stand tags in their shirts) and that she is experiencing real discomfort or even pain. You need to deal with it as if you were asking her to get a shot at the Dr.'s every day when she puts on her socks.

Some solutions: First, try to find out what's bothering her. Change the tenor of the discussions from total exasperation to becoming detectives together to solve the problem. Some parameters you need to explore: are the socks "bumpy?" (e.g. if they get a wrinkle does it bother her? if so, she may need to wear socks that are really tight and thin to avoid wrinkles.) Does the seam hurt her toes (and therefore has to be perfectly aligned?) Heels also can be a real problem, so posit that as a culprit. (We used to yell at the socks together because they were BAD, and have ritual throwing outs of socks that didn't work.) Our perfect socks were the tic tac toe socks (seamless, available at Lord and Taylor) turned inside out. Also, she could not wear socks for more than a couple of months--the pilling from washing made them hurt again.

Sometimes when you deal with the socks properly the shoe situation gets better. Just be careful when putting on shoes (buy ones that can open wide) that you don't disturb the sock. Putting on the shoes can become a funny ritual together...If you buy shoes at REI or Nordstrom they let you return them after your child has worn them if they are causing a problem that is discovered only after several wearings.

If the shoes are still a problem some suggestions for that: if she wears UGG's in the winter she can get away with no socks and they have lovely soft fur inside. My daughter was able to wear sandals with no problem (certain kinds of course) and we just surrendered--she wore sandals until snow arrived. You could try some of the sport sandals that are more covered than open. Not optimal, but doable.

Last, build in time for sock and shoe putting on. I know it's hard in the morning, but we always had a good 10 minutes allotted for our daily sock time. Sometimes it took 1 minute (new socks!) and sometimes it took 20 (that was tough). Also, let everyone relevant know the issue--that way it becomes acceptable at school (maybe slippers at school if it's really bad) and playdates for her to take off her socks and shoes...

The key is to remember that her experience of the pain is real, as annoying and frustrating as it seems. This can be opportunity for daily fights, or a time that she learns that you will listen to her concerns (a very useful lesson as they get older). That said, I feel your pain. I wish I had the money spent on socks and shoes (oh, and underwear) back--I think we'd have a house at the beach. Good Luck.

C.- Of course this is driving you mad - it is hard to live with a child who has the subtype of Sensory Processing Disorder, or Sensory Integration Disfunction, called Sensory Modulation Disorder. In Sensory Modulation Disorder, the brain misinterprets sensations such as the feel of socks and shoes as dangerous. The child then goes into a fearful fight or flight response. Is your child overly sensitive to other sensations such as loud sounds? For more information on Sensory Processing Disorder, I recommend you go to www.sinetwork.org and the November 29, 2007 issue of Time Magazine. The good news is that this can be treated without medication! I specialize in treating the Sensory Modulation Disorder subtype of Sensory Processing Disorder through parent coaching and psychoacoustically engineered music that changes the way the brain interprets the potential danger of sensory information. The other subtypes of Sensory Processing Disorder can be treated in the clinic, however, Sensory Modulation Disorder can only be effectively treated at home through specific sensory experiences called a "Sensory Diet" and Sound Therapy. This work can be done long distance (I worked with a family in New Zealand!) For more information on Sound Therapy, see the links on my web site at www.insynctherapy.org.

Life with your child can get easier!

S. Starseed, MHS, LOT
In-Sync Therapy

have you tried a bigger size or let her pick out her new shoes that she just loves?

My kids LOVE the crocs. Fur lined in winter, reg in warmer weather. No socks needed, go with anything. Can get at a discount online at shoe sites like shoebuy.com, etc. or keep an eye out at Boscovs, they randomly go on sale there too.

Hi C.,

When my girls were small, it was nearly impossible to keep socks and/or shoes on them. LOL! Now, I experience that with my granddaughters, ages 5 and 3. What my daughter discovered was that in giving them free rein to choose their own accessories, they felt like such a "big" girl. Now, I'm here to tell you that sometimes the results are hilarious...one blue sock and one red sock. But, hey, their developing their own unique fashion statement. LOL! ~Simply D.

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