Cleanliness is next to godliness, but sometimes when you are a child a little dirt can go a long way, especially when it comes to health. Kids who learn to cope with dirt early in their childhood, can overcome a number of psychological and physiological problems. By improving the immune system, getting in contact with dirt can also improve their bodies’ resistance to germs, allergies, hygiene related OCDs, and even inflammatory diseases. Still, parents need to create a balance between exposure and prevention to secure a clean bill of health for their child.
The Hygiene Hypothesis
The Hygiene Hypothesis revolves around the string of thought among experts that exposure to bacteria, parasites and viruses can be helpful to children. When a child comes in limited contact with them in early childhood, it becomes prone to them in later life. As it comes into contact with various materials in a natural setting it toughens the child’s autoimmune system, teaching the body to combat disease and germs all on its own.
Reducing the Chance of Allergies
Getting dirty and in contact with natural occurring germs has been found as a good way of preventing even genetically inherited allergies. For example, children who eat peanuts during an early age they can reduce and even become protected from peanut allergies. This also transcends from food allergies, onto airborne allergens. Kids who spend time outside, coming into contact with floral allergens, or dust indoors, can also reduce the chance of allergies, which reduces the overall chance of asthma contraction during adulthood.
Providing a Healthy Development
It may seem hard, but sometimes in life the best ways of protecting your children is to allow them to learn on their own. This is true when it comes to dirt as well. Allowing kids to explore the world around them is one of the joys of childhood. Kids might not take to dirt at all, but allowing them to realize it for themselves has a major psychological impact on their development, as they learn to be independent, and develop tastes and interests. Be that as it may, parents should always keep one eye on them. But a stable environment that gives a chance to children to learn from experience is the best way of reaching a healthy psychological development.
Healthy and Active Experience
Parents should also encourage their children to spend more time outside, exploring nature. Kids who live inside a bubble, created by over-protective parents, have been known to become more prone to disease they would otherwise have built a resistance to. Also, it reduces the risk of germ phobias, or hygiene induced OCDs. Allow kids to play fun nerf gun games by climbing trees, rolling on grass and dirt, even scraping knees. Let them enjoy their favorite sports outside, even get them to dig for worms, or make mud pies. These activities are all a part of growing up, your kids need to experience.
A Healthy Outlook on Life
Playing outside in the dirt also effects kids’ personalities. Not only do kids become resilient psychologically, but they develop useful character traits like inner-drive, courage, openness, and self-reliance. They become motivated to take on the world, seeking adventure, but always knowing to assess the risks involved. By growing a healthy character, they will be able to better understand and face the world with all its beauty and difficulty.
At the end of the day, we all want to protect our children, but sometimes we need to realize the best way of protecting them is to expose them to the world. In doing so we will not only create a clean bill of health, but a healthy attitude towards life, and living.
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