I must admit that I am one of the parents who would constantly deprive her kids from playing with the dirt. I do encourage them playing outdoors but playing with dirt was never encouraged. I do not even allow them to play with clay because it sticks badly on glass tables and is quite a trouble when it sticks on the floor. Apparently, this should not be the case. There is no such thing as “too clean” and allowing your kids to play with clay and dirt has several health benefits as well.
My eldest acquired dengue right after his first birthday. My youngest on the other hand has skin allergies every now and then so yes I am also the kind of parent who have stacks of antibacterial wipes and sprays at home.
There is nothing wrong with being careful and clean with your children. However, keeping them indoors and entirely forbidding them to play with dirt is a big no. To think, I enjoyed playing with the dirt when I was a kid so it should be fair for them to experience the same thing.
A germ-free lifestyle might actually be good, but being too clean can actually lead to a number of allergies and autoimmune problems. A Time article even shared that kids that are exposed to dirt during their younger years are less likely to develop asthma and allergies.
The Asian Parent also cites that stronger immune systems are likely developed on children who are more exposed to dirt and microbes might help improve the immune system.
My eldest son’s teacher also advised me to allow my child to play with clay more often at home to be able to improve his motor skills. My child is having a hard time learning how to write because it is quite difficult for him to hold a pencil. Looks like it was really not good to forbid them from playing clay at home.
So what should parents do? Here’s some quick tips you can follow.
Spend time with your children outdoors
Worry is the most common reason why we deprive our kids from doing things. Thus, it would be better to spend time with them outdoors to be able to guide and supervise them with the things that they do outdoors. Parents should try not to be too clingy as well when the kids are enjoying time outside. Remember, we loved the outdoors as much as they do when we were kids so we might as well let them enjoy the experience too.
Personal hygiene still matters
Exposing your kids to dirt does not necessarily mean that we should leave them unclean. Personal hygiene is still a very important aspect of their growth and development. Keep them clean at all times but allow them to be exposed with the sun, a few drops of rain, animals and the outdoors. Making sure that their dirty hands are kept away from their mouths is something that we should be paying attention to.
Kids are by nature curious. They would want to discover new things that are unfamiliar to them. Encourage them to do so by allowing them to go to parks, participate in environmental programs, bring them to camping during the weekends or b having a picnic. The more you expose the kids to these different kind of environment, the more likely their curiosity and creativity will be satisfied, allowing them to enjoy experiences and memories as a child.
Another reason to allow your kids to play in the dirt? It makes you look cool to them. Who doesn’t want to be a cool parent to their kids?