No we’re not being personal! But we’ve been thinking about how, in today’s increasingly screen-based society, many children do not spend very much time at all outside. Then when they do, as parents we are so fearful of them coming to some kind of harm that we are probably over-protective and spoil their fun.
This over-protectiveness can also extends to how dirty we let our children get. We have a fear that our children may pick up germs that will make them ill. But recent research indicates that this may not be the case.
Professor Jack Gilbert - Director of the Microbiome Centre at the University of Chicago - claims that exposure to the kind of microbes prevalent in the great outdoors helps children to build a strong and robust immune system. Indeed the normal behaviour of babies and young children is to continually touch things then put their fingers in their mouths. Rather than being hazardous, this behaviour is likely to train and strengthen their immune system.
There are several other reasons why it might be a good idea to let your children get dirty sometimes:
Germs can improve your child’s general health
Hard to believe, but exposure to microbes can help the body to fight off potentially chronic conditions such as asthma. Professor Jack Gilbert found that Amish children - who play outside a lot and are therefore exposed to many germs - have a remarkably low rate of asthma.
Germs can protect your child against allergies
Professor Gilbert also discovered during his research that children who are given a dirty dummy to suck on when young tend to develop fewer allergies and conditions such as eczema.
Germs can speed up skin repair
The NHS have found that skin repairs more quickly if there are bacteria on the surface of your skin. The body’s immune system responses are not as extreme because of the existing bacteria already there. The existing bacteria serves to dampen down the immune system response. This means that rashes and bruises are not as severe as they would otherwise have been.
Above all, you being more relaxed about dirt and germs will encourage your child to spend more time outside enjoying playing in the fresh air. Which has got to be a good thing!
So now that summer is here why not take every opportunity to get out and about, without worrying too much about dirt and germs. Time passes so quickly that these carefree outdoor days will become precious memories for the future.
At Venture Studios we can help you capture these memories so that they will last even longer. We have a range of photography experiences for every stage of your family’s life: from pregnancy photos to family portraits to pet portraits. There’s something for everyone!