Let’s Get Dirty: 5 Tips for Healthy Kids
In a society that values disinfected hands over normal grubby ones, it’s no wonder that scientists have had to come out swinging, because won’t someone please think of the children!
According to this article from Science Daily, a study has been published by Professor Richard Gallo stating that common bacteria (staphylococci), which can be found on the surface of the skin, can reduce inflammation after injury – but obviously, only if it’s actually present on the skin.
Essentially, what they’re saying is that the use of antibacterial products is killing all bacteria, even good bacteria.
GIF Credit: GIPHY
Parents are bombarded with advertising to kill germs and protect their kids from all kinds of bad shit and we in the Western world have taken that to heart so much so that allergies and skin conditions have increased as a result (I didn’t just make this up, the Sydney Morning Herald says so too).
Apparently there’s also a “mounting body of research” that suggests that exposing babies to germs will prevent conditions such as allergies and asthma later in life. I got that shit from this John Hopkins Medicine article.
So are we too clean? Are we preventing our kids from living a healthy, sneeze-free adulthood?
To assist you in avoiding any potential issues in the future, I thought I might do a post about some of the ways we can increase the amount of dirt on our kids. Here are a few places you can start:
1. Let them roll down grass hills
I used to do this as a kid all the time, and I was SUPER healthy.
All you need is a nice, little, grassy slope; try to avoid steep hills that lead into water and cliffs in general.
2. Drop them off into the woods at night and pick them up in the morning
This one is a two fold solution, they’ll come out with basic life skills like knowing how to start a fire, kill a bear and make a hat out of it AND they’ll get their germ on.
Two birds. One stone.
Image Credit: Fandango
In fact if you count starting a fire, killing a bear and making a hat three things, then technically that’s four birds, one stone.
Having said that, if they actually started a fire, killed a bear and then four birds with a stone… you might want to call someone, your kid needs help.
A better option might be to just take them camping or send them to an organised camp. I attended many Christian camps as a kid and I suffer from no allergies.
Actually that’s a lie, I do get hay-fever, obviously the Christians keep their shit too clean. Maybe send them to a regular camp, one full of dirt and sin.
3. Send them out into the rain to jump in puddles and roll in the mud
Just remember NOT to let them back into the house until you’ve hosed them down first.
Image Credit: Okina Wanderer
4. Let them eat food off the floor
Better yet, serve breakfast, lunch or dinner on the floor. If you have a pet, let them join in.
Another effective way you can use your pets in increasing germs is to encourage your children to share their food, like ice cream.
Then, once everyone is nice and sticky, suggest some patting or cuddling with the pet. Everyone wins!
5. Encourage dirty hands
Lastly, I suggest letting them get dirty in the veggie garden, maybe clean the yard up, take the rubbish out and do not let them wash their hands.
And perhaps after that would be a good time to feed them lunch on the floor with the dog. That should do it!
There’s always one or two of ‘those guys’ who either take this too seriously and actually feed their kid on the floor or get offended by the poor, uneducated advice provided.
If that is you DO NOT FOLLOW THE ABOVE, YA DOOFUS!
Satire: the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices. Thanks Google.
And just so you know, I have tried at least three of the five things above with my children.
Unfortunately they are too young to be doing the gardening but I often encourage my older kid to lick things off the floor or roll down hills – with a bit of a push of course. I can never figure out if she’s crying because she’s so happy or if she just isn’t enjoying herself.
The mystery lives on.
Tell me – what have you tried and tested with your kids?
Until next time, get out there and get dirty – PEACE!