Dirty Llittle Devils

Mums nowadays are often overly protective to the point of paranoia when it comes to shielding their offspring from germs. There is always one mum at an under fives’ group who will spray disinfectant onto every single surface their child comes into contact with; the unfortunate mite will likely be more affected by the chemical cocktail in the spray than any germs that may be lurking unseen.

Training your kids to be clean inside the house is good practice but when outside they should be given every opportunity to experience the great outdoors and be little devils in the dirt.

They will slip on slimy rocks at the seaside and graze their knees; they will fall headlong into murky rock pools and gulp down mouthfuls of sea water. It won’t kill them or harm them in the slightest and they’ll have a hot bath and a cup of cocoa before bedtime and be none the worse for wear the following morning eager to embark on further exciting adventures.

Making ‘Mud pies’ in the back garden can often be one of a child’s earliest memories; they will delight in discovering earthworms, ants, slugs and beetles as they dig in the dirt and will come to no harm whatsoever. Give them their own patch of garden that they can dig in to their hearts content; a sand pit is a good addition to any garden with a kid’s play area and may help to distract your kids from your prize blooms.

The only concern is when there may be excrement present from household pets. The toxicara worm is found in dog faeces and is a known cause of eye disease in humans. It is often contracted through ingestion of infected faeces.

So if you have dogs in your household make sure their faeces are not deposited in areas where the kids are likely to play – better still dispose of the faeces swiftly so they do not create an awful stench especially on a hot summer day’s when children are more likely to be outdoors. And of course be wary of this when your kids are out and about in parks and public places.

Playing in the fresh air and sunshine boosts immunity and increases vitamin D levels to encourage healthy bones and strong teeth. Interaction with other children from outside of their own family group is also important. Don’t plonk your children in front of the TV all day when they need the freedom to learn about the world and be exposed to different environments where they can build up immunity through first hand experience and outside play.