Categorized | Opinions

Let kids roll in the dirt: skipping aisle seven and heading for the park

Posted on 25 February 2016 by admin

Exposing children to bacteria is good for building their immune systems

By: EVAN CARLEN
Staff Writer

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Why is it that any time a child gets a spec of dirt on their hands, their parents always fumble frantically for the antibacterial wipes? Really, the 500 pack of Kleenex?

Parents, this is simply not necessary and in fact, it is detrimental to the long-term health of your child. Just as a baby’s mind needs constant stimulation for healthy growth and development, so too does the immune system.

Playing in the dirt provides this microbial stimulation every immune system is searching for. It helps the body; it does not hinder it.

Yet, in our germaphobic culture where we have entire aisles of cleaning products at the grocery store, some children are being raised in over-hygienic conditions. The hygiene hypothesis holds that without enough exposure to different bacteria and microbes, the immune system does not learn to recognize its own cells, and this could be a reason for higher rates of asthma, eczema and other autoimmune diseases.

An even more profound benefit of the brown wonder substance that we call dirt is that bacteria naturally found in soil actually plays a role in neuron activation associated with serotonin synthesis – a chemical pivotal in maintaining bodily function that is proven to make you feel happier.

I do not know about you, but I would rather lay in the mud than on a shrink’s couch.

Plus, that is dirty money I would not mind saving. Hear that dad: five-second rule applies.

But how do you get your kids dirty? Start by taking them to a park full of other kids.

Every kid there is full of cooties and boogers from other environments.

You are actually being economical by not having to drive your kid everywhere the other children have been.

Next, while they are there, do not screech and intervene when your child starts chewing and licking.

The pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to children getting a little too personal with nature. My last recommendation is my personal favorite: once the family gets home, do not shower. Just break out the raw meat bare-handed and whip up some tasty salad from your backyard garden. I am so blessed my father was not a man keen on cleanliness. Not only did I reap the health benefits, I became the person I am today thanks to the outdoors. So parents, take notes from my father and do not care when the toast lands butter side down. There are far more scary things to waste your time worrying about. It is the last thing parents need to worry about.

 

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