It’s a first instinct when we have children to want to protect them and keep them healthy; unfortunately it’s there first instinct to grab whatever grubby mess they can find! While some dirt is obviously too much and can be dangerous, removing all bacteria from around them can cause them to develop serious medical issues later on in life.
Research shows that when our parents tell us how they ate worms as a child and never got sick, they’re not far off the truth. Exposing young children to germs gives them the ability to get used to them and develop the necessary antibodies - if they don’t, they are more likely to develop asthma, allergies or even autoimmune diseases later on.
In a study several years ago, one team discovered that introducing children to animal feces caused them trouble under the age of two, but very rarely again after.
Hopefully they aren’t as dirty as this!
99% of the germs around are completely harmless, and we’ve lived with them for a long time. It could actually be much more damaging to keep children from interacting with these germs that are a natural part of their environment.
So what do the experts say? Well, generally that you need to get a good balance. It’s unnecessary to clean and sanitize absolutely everything, but unnecessary dirt isn’t good for children either. So while making sure you have a good go at oven cleaning every few months, you can worry a little less about when they play in the dirt.