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The most important health goal of child development is that each and every child has a highly-resistant immune system. This is crucial during the first few years of a child’s life, since that stage will determine their future health.

While it is important to keep your youngsters free from germs, parents also need to know that occasional exposure to such and other microorganisms can have some benefits, as well.

Vital time outside (vs. viral time inside)

The old school parenting proscribes that children should not spend too much time outside during the winter season. While it goes without saying that you should not let your children get frostbite, you will do them a favour if they spend a reasonable amount of time outside. The thing is that germs simply adore closed, warm spaces. This makes hot urban apartments a perfect habitat for disease transmitting organisms. Therefore, schedule enough time for your youngsters in the park even when it is cold, as playing outside comes with different benefits.

Hand-washing habits

If you teach your children to wash their hands before every meal, as well as every time when they get back home from outside, you will do them a favour for life. Of course, kids like doing the opposite of what they are told to. This is why parents should be wise, rather than aggressive when it comes to hand washing activities. You could come up with interesting rhymes or games that will make your children start loving such activities.

Moreover, if you do not want to expose your kid(s) to the risks that using ordinary soaps can have on their sensitive skin, use organic antibacterial soaps. Children’s allergies are a common thing these days and too strong soaps and softeners can contribute to such conditions.

Optimal house cleaning

This is the most delicate aspect of home hygiene and your children’s immune system. First of all, turning your home into a sterile, hospital-like quarantine will not make your children healthy. On the other side, neglecting the cleanliness of your home will definitely have a bad effect on their health. Youngsters need to get a certain dose of natural inoculation, i.e. their immune system has to get samples of germs, so as to be able to develop antibodies. Therefore, schedule a few days in a week for proper house cleaning; do not overdo with it, but make it regular and the germs in your home will be on an optimal level.

Regular toy sanitation

Toys have numerous beneficial effects on your children, but they can also be a perfect breeding ground for germs of all kinds. Because of that, you should teach your children to wash their hands after they finish playing with their toys. In addition, you should also include the kids in the toy sanitising and cleaning process. While it would be too demanding and time consuming to clean the toys after every single play session, it is a must after parties or massive kids’ hangouts.

Also, find a hygiene friendly place where you will keep the toys. Ditching them under the bed is a bad option. On the contrary, getting a large wooden box instead and keeping them in a visible place is a better choice.

Although many young parents think that keeping their kids healthy means isolating them completely from germs and other airborne organisms, the truth is somewhere in between.

Therefore, clean your home regularly, but not obsessively and let your children develop in a safe and natural way.

What do you think of this? Please share in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • Even more important now with covid.

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  • My Dad was a GP back in the 50’s. He always told us exposure to germs was the best way to build up immunity after all germs are always in the air and we
    can’t see them to avoid them. Our home was kept reasonably clean and we kids played outside in all weathers…..in mud, on the lawn, in swamps and in the bush etc. Minor scrapes were just disinfected (if we bought them to Mum or Dad’s attention) and we were sent out to play again. Usually without the wound even being dressed. Even today, I love walking in the rain in bare feet. I have never had the flu and average a cold once every 2 years or more.. I have a bottle of Dettol in my medical kit but don’t have any other disinfectant in the house.

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  • Some great tips in this article, and good ideas for creating good habits. All 3 of my kids have gastro at the moment, and yet we do a lot of what is recommended in this article. But I know it’s not completely bad for them, and will help build their immune system. MoM is getting me through at the moment, haha.

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  • Washing the hands before dinner and after a visit to the toilet and after touching or playing with animals is certainly rule in our house. I must admit I don’t wash the toys really, only when I see they’re dirty

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  • Unless they’ve had bodily fluids on toys, we don’t really wash them. We do however consistently expect them to wash their hands after the get home from school and before eating.

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  • Great article. Very wise and valid points. Thank you Lillian.

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  • Apart from making my kids wash their hands before they had a meal, I never did anything else. They played outside in the dirt and probably ate quite a bit of it, they toys were hard and so didn’t get washed, they made a lot of their toys and fun themselves and I preferred them to wash their hands before going to the toilet because they were so dirty. None of them or their progeny to date have any allergies – our houses were clean but not sterile. Something bad has happened in the last 50 years.

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  • My home was always a shoes off at the door home and then we had slippers or thongs just for inside. This was only when my kids were little.

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  • If your baby plays on the floor it is probably as wise to try to keep it reasonably clean too. Their hands and toys are constantly on the floor. They often put some of their toys in their mouths at some point, probably fingers too. We have no idea what we walk in outside and spread throughout the floors inside.

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  • This is so important to keep germs away!

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  • It’s a fine line. It can be tricky to find it.

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  • A very interesting article. It certainly is a balance between keeping kids germ free but still exposing them to allow their immune systems to flourish.

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  • My kids had lots of germy outside time growing up. I didn’t spend any time washing their toys though. They don’t seem to have suffered much because of it

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  • And I think it’s also important to teach kids to wash their hands after coming out of a bus or train. Those are places full of germs too. And too often you see kids touching everything in the train, and then eat.

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  • One thing I have to stay alert to is sometimes young ones are in too much hurry to get back to what they were doing that they don’t flush the toilet and wash their hands…..or they wash the tips of their fingers and tell you they have washed them.
    Before meals it is also a good idea to wash their faces or at least around their mouths uness you know exactly what they have had on their faces.

    Reply

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