Of course, the main concern of parents is to keep their children healthy and happy. Still, in today’s society, the need for cleanliness is getting a little bit out of hand and excessiveness is never a good thing. It is perfectly natural for parents to want to keep their kids clean but the point here is that they actually really need and benefit from getting dirty before getting cleaned.
Germs work for immunity
Studies have noted that more young kids show signs of different allergies and chronic diseases. The reason may be shocking but these unfortunate occurrences are probably due to the so-called ‘nature-deficiency syndrome’. This means that kids are overprotected and kept away from germs found in dirt and nature. Even though parents mean their best, they are actually doing a disservice to kids and their immune system which is then unable to fight or get stronger. It is actually the relatively harmless germs found in dirt and nature that keep boosting the young child’s immunity.
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Seek the balance
It is understandable that some people dislike seeing their kids all muddy but truly the only solution to this should be giving them a good bath after they get tired of playing outside. Completely preventing the child’s adventurous spirit and curiosity for messy playtime will not only have the negative influence on child’s immune system, as mentioned before but the child’s readiness to explore and learn new things as well, which can appear more evident later in life. Unpleasantly so, children can sometimes pick up strange things such as an animal’s poop, and it is pretty obvious that the kid should be explained why doing such a thing is bad, but he/she should never be yelled at and punished so much so that they start avoiding outdoors on their own. As most things in this world, not everything is only black and white, and balance in playing in dirt and environment full of germs should be achieved as well.
Many benefits of ‘dirty’ play
Moving away from the concept of germs, there are many other benefits a child can gain by playing outside. Firstly, they will breathe fresh air and move around more. Physical activity is extremely important for growing children. Secondly, by being taken to the parks and playgrounds where they can freely enjoy nature and getting dirty, kids will be able to socialize and have fun with others, laughing their day away. With a good company and a smile on their faces, children will be more motivated, self-secure, open to others and stress-free. Most people would shrug away the possibility of children feeling stressed but unfortunately, sterile-like environments, isolation, and play using technology only is causing depression and other disorders in children at very early age. Not to mention obesity and poor growth due to inactivity.
Ways to have fun in dirt
There are many ways that you as a parent can provide fun but beneficial play in the dirt while keeping a close look at your kids. For example, gardening is one of the best ways to have your kids get their hands and knees all muddy while they learn something new about the world. Taking care of the plants has many benefits and these actions encourage the calm and patient behavior. If you live in an apartment, even simple flower pots can serve a great purpose, or you can take your kids to the parks specially made for gardening. Another good example of using getting dirty to your kid’s advantage is allowing them and their friends to take part in fun and engaging nerf war games. This way kids will also be able to spend time with their friends, learn to work as a team, think strategically and get a good exercise at the end of the day.
While it is true that you cannot protect your child from everything you definitely should not try to make things better by protecting them from germs found in dirt and natural playground. This will only make them prone to more diseases in years to come when it will only become harder to deal with possible problems. Let your child get dirty and enjoy the fun bath time afterward!
Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice on hers parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”