Do you let your children get dirty when they play? A few days ago, a video was widely shared on Facebook in which several children appeared playing in the rain. Everything was laughter and joy, while they were covered in mud when they reached the end of the slide and the rain fell nonstop.
Like many people who saw it, that video made me smile. But at the same time, it got me thinking about who I am in that respect now that I’m a mom. And I realized something: I never (or almost never) let my daughter get dirty when she plays outside. After that, I decided that she should be more relaxed about it, and not stress if my daughter gets dirty when she plays .
The memories that remain in our memory
Watching that video made me remember my childhood. Things were certainly very different when I was a child, compared to how they are now when my daughter is young. And it is not the same to be a child at the beginning of the nineties, than in 2018.
When I was a child, I spent most of my time playing in the backyard of my house. My sister and I used to explore every corner, playing at being explorers in the middle of the jungle, as there were many trees and plants perfect for doing so. We watched television, of course, but television was never more interesting than playing outdoors, accompanied by our dogs.
I remember some summer afternoons, lying in a couple of hammocks under the shade of the trees, after a few hours of play in the garden. When it rained, we could go out and play in the mud and make some “culinary creations” that we decorated with small branches and leaves that had fallen from the trees. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you also remember your childhood like this?
Thinking about all this also made me think about the things I forgot about those happy and carefree days. I don’t remember the clothes, hairstyles, bows, or shoes I wore as a child . But what I do remember and surely never forget, are those afternoons of games and laughter.
Why as a child I loved to play in the mud and now that I am a mother I did not like it at all when my daughter did it? Perhaps because I fear that she might get sick, or that somehow this will have other consequences on her health. It could also be that we now feel pressured to have our children well dressed and impeccable, to prevent them from giving their opinion about our performance as mothers.
Whatever the reason, I realized that a child’s smile and happiness are more important and valuable than a clean shirt . Let children be children , because it is those little moments that make our children’s childhood something magical and that will last forever in their memories.
Recently, we went from my daughter’s school to visit a children’s museum in our town. At the end of the tour, there were about 30 minutes left before the transport returned for us, so teachers and parents waited in the museum’s garden where there were some games for the children, including a sandbox.
At first, and since they were wearing their uniforms, some moms asked them not to play there, but after a few minutes and without saying anything, we all decided to let them have fun. It was inevitable to smile when seeing the whole group laughing while they played with the sand and another game that had water. In the end, the children ended up covered in dirt and a little mud, but nothing that a bath and the washing machine could not remedy.
A little dirt has its benefits too
Actually, letting the kids get a little dirty has more benefits than focusing on being extremely hygienic . Some time ago we shared precisely that excessive hygiene weakened the immune system and this made children more likely to suffer from certain allergies.
Of course, everything must be measured, and with this I am not saying that we let children be dirty all the time or that we do not encourage hygiene habits , but it is a way of remembering that nothing will happen if we let them get dirty occasionally, because it is also beneficial for them .