Do you remember spending your childhood climbing trees, dancing in the rain, playing in the sand and eating mulberries straight off the floor? Why do parents treat their kids so differently these days? The five-second rule has come into existence, which makes parents feel guilty for giving a pacifier back to their kid after it fell on the floor, and most parents believe that their kids have to wash or sanitize their hands all the time. However, dirt is good – and important for the development of your kids’ immune systems.
Jack Gilbert, author of a book called “Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System”, believes that kids should be allowed to be licked by the family dog, play in the mud and eat a chip or two that’s fallen on the ground (provided the area you’re in doesn’t contain high-risk pathogens). In fact, letting your kids be exposed to everyday dirt can make them healthier.
Bacteria that are naturally found in soil activate the neurons that produce serotonin in your brain, which is a natural antidepressant. Also, according to research, early exposure to microbes that naturally occur in soil build a higher resistance to diseases. Without the exposure to different bacteria and microbes, our immune system doesn’t learn to recognise its own cells and this could increase chances of asthma, eczema and other diseases. It’s time to get your child off Youtube, away from console games and out in the fresh air to make some invaluable memories!
So, let your kids get dirty! Here are a few tips you can try out. However, just remember, your child can still get sick – especially if they’ve been shielded from germs already.
- Don’t let your kids overuse antibacterial soaps as this can inhibit their immune development and may also decrease the effectiveness of natural antibiotics. It’s best to stick to normal soap and water and avoid excessive hand washing.
- Don’t let your kids take antibiotics unless they have to. Rushing to get antibiotics at the first signs of any flu or bug can create bacterial resistance issues. If your kids can fight a mild illness without antibiotics, there will be fewer risks of bad consequences should they contract pneumonia, sinusitis or bronchitis. When your kids falls ill, make sure you ask you ask your general practitioner or paediatrician if they can overcome the illness without the help of antibiotics.
- Let your kids taste different things, such as leaves, dirty grass or mud, toys and chair legs. It may be tempting to smack everything they pick up out of their little hands; however, they’re just exploring things around them. Obviously, you can use your discretion when it comes to things that are a little too dirty – for example, licking anything in a public bathroom may be taking leniency a step too far!
- Let your kids play with pets. Don’t be scared to have cats, dogs, hamsters and other pets around your home. Let your kids play with other people’s pets too. Also, taking them to a farm to see farm animals is a fun way to expose them to different germs.
- Send your kids outside to play. These days, kids prefer to play indoors and watch TV rather than play outside. Try to get your kids outside as much as possible. You can do so by building them a sandpit, teaching them how to grow and nurture different plants in the garden and encouraging them to ride their bicycles outside. View Parental Instincts awesome range of waterproof and sun protection clothing for kids.
Just remember to always consult your doctor if your kid is sick and feed your kids immune-boosting foods to ensure they stay healthy.