One of the first lessons I have learned while raising farm kids is that dirt, mud, and cow poop will get on them.
It’s Okay! Kids are washable.
If your kids get dirty, that’s great. Not only are they enjoying themselves, usually in equal proportions to how dirty they’re getting, but they are exposing themselves to bacteria and microorganisms that will help bolster their immune systems. It is great for kids to play in the dirt because it builds up immunities which will help protect them from future illness. According to WebMD, “when exposure to parasites, bacteria, and viruses is limited early in life, children face greater chance of having allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases during adulthood.
In fact, kids with older siblings, who grew up on a farm, or attended day care early in life seem to show lower rates of allergies.”
Besides the benefits to their immune systems playing outside in messy situations will benefit their self confidence, “I can play there, it’s just mud.” Its also an opportunity to soak up the sun and enjoy a little vitamin D.
The next time your kids are playing in a mud puddle, don’t freak out. Let them play; watch them giggle and slash, or get in the mud with them. Make a few mud pies and enjoy your kids being kids.
If you happen to be at someone else’s house while they play in mud puddles and get soaking wet……….. be sure to bring spare clothes and shoes with you. It’s not a bad idea to keep a bag in your trunk. You may not need those extra clothes often but you will be glad to have them when you need them.
Now for a great example of kids in muck.
One early spring day I took my kids to visit my parents who own a small dairy farm but my dad has taken to dabbling in pigs. My mom had taken the baby to the house while my son Lucian, who is 3, was playing around the barn. I was helping my dad move some newborn piglets and lost sight of Lucian for about minutes. When I found him again he sure was a sight to see. My father had been dumping the manure from the barn into a pile all winter so by early May it was a big pile. The manure was mixed with straw from the cow’s bedding and from a 3 year-old’s perspective it looked like a big pile of dirt with straw on it.
When I hollered, “Lucian where are you?”
“I’m over here.” Echoed back from the manure pile. He was covered in manure up to his thighs and elbows. What could I say? He was smiling, a bit sheepishly, so I smiled back and said, “You know you’re covered in cow poop?”
He quit smiling and said, “Oh.” While my dad walked by with a, “Looks like someone needs to be hosed off.”
I said “Yup,” and we headed towards the pump house.
I hosed off his boots then took them off to hose down the tops and bottoms. I took off his pants and put his boots back on him then I hosed off his pants too. We marched up to the house with Lucian wearing his semi-dirty jacket, no pants, and rubber boots while I held his hand and dripping pants. A quick bath, clean clothes, and voila squeaky clean kid. Like I said kids (and clothes) are washable.