Lined on every supermarket shelf in the cleaning aisle, in every magazine cleaning advert, all we see is how we need to sanitise, sanitise, sanitise! All for the health of our children. It’s almost like a guilt trip that if we don’t sanitise to extreme proportions, then we aren’t good parents. And with the health of our children first and foremost in our minds this information can become a bit confusing. With the millions and millions of germs floating around in the same space as we breathe, how on earth do we eradicate each and every germ?
The first truth is, we can’t. The second truth is that we probably shouldn’t.
Most germs are totally harmless. It’s a common phenomena that most germs having been hanging around in our world for centuries and that very few of them harm us.
Exposure may toughen them up
In fact, known as the Hygiene Hypothesis, it’s commonly believed by many that exposing toddlers to germs may actually offer them an even stronger guard against allergies, and even asthma, later on in their little lives.
In times gone by we were born with a natural physical formulation to fight against most germs. But over time a belief has occurred that we should protect ourselves and our families even more – almost from the air we breathe! Our homes and cars are air tight with designer-made ventilation systems providing only the purest of air, every bar of soap in the home has been replaced with liquid anti-bacterial soaps, and even our light switches respond to motion rather than touch.
Our children’s rooms are sanitised daily with only the best that’s available on the market, and our children are discouraged to play in the sand outside.
Keep your young too clean and pure
While avoiding contact with germs could assist in preventing the increase of dangerous diseases, trying to keep your little ones too clean and pure could be contributing to their resistance to allergies.
Children’s immune systems need to have experience in order to fight, and they’ll only get that if they are allowed to be exposed to the germs around us. Besides, if you are really honest about it, you cannot walk around inside or outside the house with a disinfectant rag.
There are all sorts of germs at the playground, does this mean you will stop him playing there? And what about school? A million and one germs there from all the children accumulating there to learn!
Over the top with the mop
Germs are really all around us and we have to simply insist on a healthy balance between keeping things clean or going over the top with the mop. They’re on our light switches, door handles, counter tops, in the library, on the school bus or taxi, in the restaurant and on the pet bowls.
We teach our children to cover their mouths when they cough, to wash their hands after using the bathroom, to not play with their shoes and to scrub up before eating. There is not much more we can do.
Are you going overboard with the cleaning rag? Perhaps you are trying to keep things too clean for your youngster. Or have you just become obsessed with a fear of germs?
No mud baths, Mum
Whilst it’s not a good idea to take your young one for a mud bath in the river, it is about creating a healthy balance. And the message at the end of the day is that by exposing our toddlers to normal, day-to-day germs is actually offering them protection from allergies later in their lives!