Let Your Kids Get Dirty!
One of the biggest complaints that parents (and other ‘older’ members of the community) make about ‘kids these days’ is that they are rarely seen outdoors. Most of the blame is placed on the new technological distractions children have access to, such as gaming consoles, computers, TV, and smartphones. While there is some truth to this assumption, changing parental styles have also contributed to children spending most of their time indoors. In a bid to protect their children from crime, bad weather, diseases, and other concerns, fewer parents are willing to allow their children to play outdoors. However, this overprotectiveness is unfairly denying children important life experiences and is causing more harm than good in the long term.
So here is why you should break away from the norm and let your kids get dirty.
Exposure to dirt strengthens the immune system
The human immune system develops by being exposed to microbes. Getting dirty should be thought of as an opportunity to ‘exercise’ the immune system. If a child lives in an over-sanitized environment, their immunity does not get the opportunity to develop effectively, and the child will be more disease prone in adulthood. When playing outside, children interact with their environment and this has a positive effect on their immunity.
Getting dirty increases the overall physical health of a child
Children naturally get dirty through playing outdoors. Allowing your children to get dirty by playing outside gives them the opportunity to gain much needed exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise are well known. Issues such as childhood obesity, which are plaguing children today all across America and in other developed countries, can be addressed by simply giving children the opportunity to play outside and get dirty.
Playing outside increases the social development of your child
Human beings are social animals, and this is best exhibited by children. When playing outdoors, your child will get an opportunity to interact with other children. This gives them a vital experience on how to form bonds and relationships later on in life. A child who spends most of their time indoors will find it difficult to make friends at school or to network socially later in life.
One of the more troubling trends in psychology has been the increase in childhood depression, and this can be attributed, in part, to the social isolation that most children experience. Playing outside is not only important for the physical well-being of a child, but also their overall mental health.
Getting dirty reduces the likelihood of your child having allergies
While a child’s genetic makeup is a significant factor on whether they will have allergies, the environment that they are exposed to is an important contributing factor as well. If your child is not exposed to the natural environment that they live in, their immune system becomes hypersensitive and they will react violently when exposed to environmental components such as dust and pollen. Research has shown that children who spend a lot of time outdoors are less likely to have asthma and other allergies.
As a parent, it is understandable that your natural instinct is to protect your child from dirt for the sake of their health. However, children are not as fragile as you may think, and allowing them to get dirty is important for the betterment of their long-term physical and mental health. So let them get dirty; dirt can be good for them.
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