What’s the expression? “God made dirt, dirt won’t hurt”, but is that true? Some people insist on sanitizing everything to protect themselves and their kids from germs, bacteria and diseases that possibly lurk all around them. These same folks seem to have a problem with allowing their children to get dirty for fear that dirt will breed some sort of uncleanliness in the body of their child. Others, on the other hand, aren’t quite clean enough, and cause many problems with habits that could stand to be improved (daily showering, brushing of the teeth, etcetera). What’s the deal and where do you draw the line with dirt?
The Truth About Dirt
Before you panic at the sight of your two year old putting the dog’s bone in his mouth, understand that studies have shown that that may not be as harmful as you would believe it to be in our health crazed society. Sure, germs exist. And sure, that bone is certainly not clean. But, did you know that kids who are exposed in reasonable measures to dirt and uncleanliness under the age of two are less likely to develop things like allergies and inflammation causing other health issues later on in life?
Here’s how it works: our bodies’ immune system has a protective element that kicks into gear every time we’re exposed to something that we know isn’t good. We may or may not know that we’re experiencing a virus, depending on whether or not we exhibit symptoms. But, every time our bodies see a foreign virus, it fights it off and creates antibodies to protect against it in the future. People who have weak immune systems don’t do this quite as well, but ironically, people with weak immune systems were more than likely over-sanitized as a child. Make sense?
Why It Can Be Bad
Are germs ever really good? Probably not, from the standpoint of we’d all be better off without them. But, the truth is, the world is a dirty place, and germs will exist forever. Germs naturally exist (and thrive) and dirty places, like, on the ground or in people’s hands and mouths. We definitely don’t believe that rolling around on a bathroom floor is good for anybody, as there are obvious germs that you’d do well to avoid in those situations. These germs can cause illness, bacteria and nasty symptoms in anyone, especially your child.
Use Your Head
Overall, the overwhelming consensus that we’ve come to is that it’s healthy to strike a balance. Being overly dirty is not at all a great idea, and we encourage regular sanitation of the body and the environment to avoid an unnatural build up of germs. With that said, dirt is not a bad thing and is not bad for your child. In fact, yes, dirt can be good for your child as it helps them to build immunities to bacterias that they wouldn’t otherwise see.
Use some commonsense. Don’t be overprotective, but don’t be too lax. Children are shockingly resilient, and our bodies are very complex, amazing organisms.