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‘Dirt Is Good’: Why Kids Need Exposure To Germs

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Photo Source: kqed news

As a new parent, Jack Gilbert got a lot of different advice on how to properly look after his child: when to give him antibiotics or how often he should sterilize his pacifier, for example.

After the birth of his second child, Gilbert, a scientist who studies microbial ecosystems at the University of Chicago, decided to find out what’s actually known about the risks involved when modern-day children come in contact with germs.

By Lulu Garcia-Navarro

https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/07/18/dirt-is-good-why-kids-need-exposure-to-germs/

“It turned out that most of the exposures were actually beneficial,” Gilbert says. “So that dirty pacifier that fell on the floor — if you just stick it in your mouth and lick it, and then pop it back in little Tommy’s mouth, it’s actually going to stimulate their immune system. Their immune system’s going to become stronger because of it.”

Gilbert is now the co-author of a new book called Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System. Presented in a Q&A format, the book seeks to answer many of the questions Gilbert has fielded from parents over the year

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Interview Highlights

What are some things that parents get wrong?

Some of the main things are over-sterilizing their environment, keeping their children from ever getting dirty. So going out into the backyard and playing in the mud, and then as soon as they’re filthy, bringing them in and sterilizing their hands with antiseptic wipes, and then making sure that none of the dirt gets near their faces. Also, keeping them away from animals. The dogs and cats, sure, but also, other animals. It’s fine to wash their hands if there’s a cold or a flu virus around, but if they’re interacting with a dog, and the dog licks their face, that’s not a bad thing. In fact that could be extremely beneficial for the child’s health.

What about hand sanitizer? Good or bad?

Usually bad. Hot, soapy water is fine. Even mildly warm, soapy water is fine, and it’s probably less damaging to the child’s overall health.

How about the five-second rule? The idea that if something falls on the ground and is there for under five seconds, it’s clean.

The five-second rule doesn’t exist. It takes milliseconds for microbes to attach themselves to a sticky piece of jammy toast, for example. But it makes no difference. Unless you dropped it in an area where you think they could be a high risk of extremely dangerous pathogens, which in every modern American home is virtually impossible, then there’s no risk to your child.

Wash a pacifier or lick it if it falls on the ground?

Lick it. A study of over 300,000 children showed that parents who licked the pacifier and put it back in — their kids developed less allergies, less asthma, less eczema. Overall, their health was stronger and more robust.

Are things like allergies an unintended consequence of trying to protect our kids too much?

Absolutely. In the past, we would have eaten a lot more fermented foods, which contain bacteria. We would have allowed our children to be exposed to animals and plants and soil on a much more regular basis. Now we live indoors. We sterilize our surfaces. Their immune systems then become hyper-sensitized. You have these little soldier cells in your body called neutrophils, and when they spend too long going around looking for something to do, they become grumpy and pro-inflammatory. And so when they finally see something that’s foreign, like a piece of pollen, they become explosively inflammatory. They go crazy. That’s what triggers asthma and eczema and often times, food allergies.

Give us some advice. What should I allow my child to do?

Oftentimes, it’s hard to get your kid to eat a healthy diet. I would strongly try to encourage the consumption of more colorful vegetables, more leafy vegetables, a diet more rich in fiber as well as reducing the sugar intake. But just generally, allow your kid to experience the world. As long as they’re properly vaccinated, there’s no threat, and they will actually get a stronger, more beneficial exposure.

 

References

The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System
posted Jul 27, 2017 by Gowri Vimalan

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Twinkle Khanna has a subtle writing style that is consistently funny, real and hard hitting at the same time. Her contributions under Mrs. Funnybones on the Sunday Times are worth a read. Here she writes on one of her favourite topics - parenting. Go here for the full story: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/mrsfunnybones/why-good-parenting-is-like-gardening/

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Photo source :  Luminosity

I have always loved books. As a child, I was always fascinated by the magical world of books. The moment I opened a book, the characters would appear in front of my eyes as if real and start talking to me. The stories would form real pictures in my mind and I would feel as if I was a part of it. My passion for books has become an integral part of motherhood. I am very keen in developing a love for reading in my children. Every day before going to bed, we have a routine of reading story books. I try to read a variety of books for them ranging from fairy tales, moral stories, general knowledge and much more.

https://vidhiduggal.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/10-reasons-why-i-love-to-read-to-my-kids-10-reasons-why-i-love-to-read-to-my-kids/

Reading has immense benefits on the development of a child. It helps them in developing language, forms new brain connections and creates an interest for books which always helps them later in life.

Here I am just writing ten benefits of reading which I am sure are much less for those who love reading.

1. Quiet and Calmness

These days children are extremely active and never for a moment they like to sit still quietly. They never get tired of jumping and running around. Reading a book provides them with time for relaxation, quiet and calmness in their busy lives. They learn to sit still and focus. While listening to a story they also learn to concentrate. It also calms a child when he is fretful and restless.

2. Imagination and Play

Stories are a great source of encouraging and stimulating imagination. This imagination helps them in adding more variety to their play. When they are engaged in a story, they begin to imagine about the characters and situations in it and start thinking about how they feel.

3. Parent Child Bonding

Reading a story provides opportunities for parents to bond with their children. It is a great way of spending quality time together with the kids. Reading to your children gives them intimacy, they feel close to you, they get the feeling of being loved and secured. This feeling of getting opportunity from you helps them to grow smart.

Read more...

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Photo Source: PQ

By Peace Quarters

https://www.peacequarters.com/harvard-psychologists-say-parents-raise-good-kids-5-things/

5 CRITICAL STEPS FOR PARENTS TO TAKE

SPEND QUALITY TIME

Be there. Not just physically, but also emotionally. Listening to your child and making conversations helps you to bond with each other. Also, turn off all the electronics and give them your time without any disturbance. Doing things together will teach your child to be a more caring and considerate person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Play their favorite game together
  • Read them a book
  • Ask them questions about their day

BECOME A ROLE MODEL

Children learn from things they see and experience. Many parents may not notice how much of their behavior young kids see and understand. This is why you should think about your words and actions. When you make mistakes, admit them and apologize. Be the example you want your child to become.

Another important thing is respect, which can only be earned. So always be honest, show that you are a human too and people make mistakes. Also, try to see everything as a lesson and a chance to grow and become a better person. Teach this to your child as well.

Practical things you can do:

  • Always admit your mistakes and apologize for them
  • Talk about problems and finding solutions
  • Find time to take care of yourself, only then you can take care of others

TEACH THEM VALUES

It is important that your child communicates with others and learns to share in the young age. Taking other peoples’ feelings in consideration and being selfless is an essential feature and can become beneficial in the future.

The Harvard study found that caring about others is as important as one’s happiness. This is something that parents need to teach their children consistently because sometimes the message is not received quickly.

As a parent, you must always be an example. This means taking responsibility and doing the right thing (even when it is not the most convenient thing to do). Be a role model and confirm your words with your actions. Remind them, that others are counting on them and it is not nice to let people down.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach them every day to be kind
  • Make them take responsibility for their actions and stick to their commitments. Do not just let them quit a sport or end a friendship. It is always easier to just give up, but it is not always the right thing to do.

     

TEACH THEM GRATITUDE

Teach them to appreciate people and things in their life. Tell them about the history and trying times, so they would understand how lucky they are to live in this time with plenty of opportunities. Teach them not to take their life and possibilities for granted.

The study has shown, that people, who practice gratitude in their everyday lives, are more helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving. What is most important – they are more happy and healthy. So it is a key feature in a real person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Remind your child to be grateful in everyday life
  • Teach them to show respect and appreciation for people (family members, teachers, neighbors) in their lives
  • Be the role model and do not take individuals and things in your life for granted

SHOW THEM THE BIGGER PICTURE

It is a commonly known fact that children care about a small circle of family and friends. This is normal, but the difficult challenge is to teach them to empathize with people outside their circle.

Children need to learn that it all starts with people and that they can make a big difference in someone’s life. So it is important to show kindness towards people you do not know so well (new kid in class, the shopkeeper, the cleaning lady).

The Harvard study suggested that children should learn to zoom in and listen carefully to those, who are part of their inner circle but also to zoom out and take in consideration the bigger range of people they interact with on a daily basis.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach your child empathy – teach them to comfort a crying kid and reach out to a new classmate
  • Have conversations about different people and their lives. Talk about people with different religions, beliefs, communities, and countries
  • Teach them not to have prejudices and to show kindness to people around them
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Photo Source: haikudeck.com

Until recently, many teachers only got one word of feedback a year: "satisfactory." And with no feedback, no coaching, there's just no way to improve. Bill Gates suggests that even great teachers can get better with smart feedback -- and lays out a program from his foundation to bring it to every classroom.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Bill Gates · Philanthropist

A passionate techie and a shrewd businessman, Bill Gates changed the world while leading Microsoft to dizzying success. Now he's doing it again with his own style of philanthropy and passion for innovation.

https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_teachers_need_real_feedback#t-400314

Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player. (Laughter)

My bridge coach, Sharon Osberg, says there are more pictures of the back of her head than anyone else’s in the world. (Laughter) Sorry, Sharon. Here you go.

We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. Unfortunately, there’s one group of people who get almost no systematic feedback to help them do their jobs better, and these people have one of the most important jobs in the world. I’m talking about teachers. When Melinda and I learned how little useful feedback most teachers get, we were blown away. Until recently, over 98 percent of teachers just got one word of feedback: Satisfactory. If all my bridge coach ever told me was that I was “satisfactory,” I would have no hope of ever getting better. How would I know who was the best? How would I know what I was doing differently? Today, districts are revamping the way they evaluate teachers, but we still give them almost no feedback that actually helps them improve their practice. Our teachers deserve better. The system we have today isn’t fair to them. It’s not fair to students, and it’s putting America’s global leadership at risk. So today I want to talk about how we can help all teachers get the tools for improvement they want and deserve.

Read More

content sourced from vialogue.wordpress.com​

To watch the complete video Click Here

+1 vote

               

Photo Source: scarymommy

By- Clint Edwards

http://www.scarymommy.com/stop-pushing-kids-be-best/

There’s an article from Boston magazine making the internet rounds right now titled “In Praise of Mediocre Kids.” In it, Julie Suratt describes how her son Finn was interested in playing the French horn, so they got him the instrument and signed him up for the school music program, only to find out that he wasn’t that good.

The school music director suggested they pay for a private tutor. Like any good parents, the Suratts looked into it. The music program already cost $150, and to rent the French horn was another $42 a month. Add the cost of private lessons on top of that, and once everything was tallied, Suratt was left wondering why they originally got into this whole “playing an instrument” thing. It wasn’t for Finn to play in the London symphony (do they have French horns in the London symphony?). It was so he could try out an instrument and see if he enjoyed the experience.

But her initial reaction to do everything she could to make sure her son was the best at the French horn, even if it cost a great deal of money, is relatable to me, and I assume it is to anyone with children.

A few years ago my daughter, who was 5 at the time, wanted to try ballet. We got her the leotard and the lessons and the cute shoes. I drove her to every practice and every recital, and as I did, I imagined her as a professional dancer. This graceful ballerina, prancing along the stage, wowing fans. The strange thing is, though, I don’t even like ballet. I’ve seen The Nutcracker a couple times, and I was never enthralled. And yet, the moment my daughter showed interest in something, I wanted her to be the best at it.

My notions of her devoting her life to ballet got quashed pretty quickly however. After about six months, it was everything I could do to get her to put on the tights. She hated it, so I ended up forcing her to do something that she didn’t like, with the hope that she would make me proud someday by becoming a prima ballerina — again, an art form I don’t even appreciate.

Like Suratt, I eventually took a step back and had to examine why I got her into this whole dancing gig in the first place, and the reasoning was to see if she’d enjoy it. Not for her to become some accomplished ballerina. Like really, what are the odds? 

Often as parents, we get lost in competition. We expect our children to be the best at everything, all while forgetting that turning them into upstanding adults with passions and good values is actually a pretty lofty goal all by itself.

But for some reason, parents in 2017 are fearful of mediocrity. Now, keep in mind, this is often a middle- to upper-class problem. You have to have enough money to pay for those extracurricular activities, along with the extra gear and lessons, plus the time to schlep your kid from place to place. I grew up with a single mother. We didn’t have money for that kind of thing, and she certainly didn’t have the time or resources to be shuttling me all over town each day.

We make enough money for my son to play soccer and for my daughter to attend gymnastics lessons (her new adventure). We don’t make enough money to devote our lives to the cause, but we wouldn’t want to anyway. Our kids are enjoying themselves and learning new skills, and we are happy with that.

I happen to work in a Division 1 athletics program. My job is to help make sure college athletes do their homework (I’m pretty popular, trust me). I will be the first to admit, I’ve seen student athletes who are so driven to excel at everything they do that I have to take a step back to truly appreciate how amazing they are. But on the flip side, I’ve also seen the downside of pushing a child to be the best their whole life: When they do fail, and they will because everyone does, it crushes them. This can be tragic.

In the past two years, two student athletes I worked with have died by suicide — one after he lost eligibility, the other when she was cut from the team. Those two students were bright and capable, and yet they had built up their sport to be so important, so valuable, that when it was taken away from them, they felt like they had nothing left to live for. But the fact is, they both had a hell of a lot of life left to live. They were smart and motivated. They could have had promising careers and families. They were good people, and their whole lives still lay ahead of them.

But they couldn’t see that.

Now, this isn’t going to be the case for all children who have been pushed to excel their entire lives, but we shouldn’t ignore the impact this has on our children’s mental and emotional well-being either.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a mediocre child. There is nothing wrong with being a B or even a C student. It’s not that you shouldn’t encourage children to do their best and challenge themselves. But pushing them to be the absolute best and demanding they excel at everything from soccer to the French horn to their class ranking might not be the best way for them to truly enjoy their childhood. That’s a lot of freaking pressure. And from my observations, it can, in fact, have tragic consequences.

Ultimately, that’s what Suratt concludes in her article: “It’s not easy to ignore societal pressure to push, push, push […]. Our parents didn’t sign us up for all the extras […]. They were more concerned with whether we ate our vegetables than how many goals we scored […]. We don’t owe our success to private coaching and tutoring; we owe it to our intrinsic desire to be our best self. That’s what we need to focus on with our children: building their self-esteem; creating a safe environment where it’s okay to fail and okay to try again; and encouraging them to be nice, honest, and loyal. And, perhaps most important of all, embracing mediocrity.”

We need to teach our children that failure is a part of life and that we still love them even if they are not the best at this or that, because on the whole, they are the best children we have. Everyone has their talents and their struggles, and that’s part of life. While my daughter will never become a famous ballerina, that’s okay. As long as she becomes a kind, self-sufficient, caring person, I will be incredibly proud of her.

And I have to assume all of you loving parents reading this article feel the same. So let’s make sure our kids know that. Let’s take the pressure off them a little. Let’s not worry about pushing our children to be the best, and instead, like Surratt, embrace mediocrity.

 

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