According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 3 million children below the age of 5 years die annually due to environment-related causes. This means that maintaining a clean home environment is a vital factor in raising healthy children. In particular, it is important to eliminate air pollutants, contaminated water, toxic chemicals, mould, decaying household waste, and accumulated dirt from the home. Here is a brief discussion on the influence of cleanliness on a children’s health.
A Bad Environment Limits a Child’s Growth Potential
A poorly maintained indoor and outdoor environment can adversely affect a child’s mental and physical development. Children who live in noisy, overcrowded and disorganised homes usually have negative behavioural traits. According to a renowned developmental scientist and researcher, Dr. Gary Evans, from the Department of Human Development and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, there are significant delays in the time it takes for children, who live near airports, to learn how to read. He said that a child’s reading ability, cognitive development, and physiological indicators are affected negatively by noise from cars, music and air planes.
Another major environmental hindrance to a child’s development is overcrowding and clutter. Clutter makes it difficult for a child to sustain mental focus. A study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, on the influence of many objects in a child’s field of vision, showed that excessive clutter will lead to over-stimulation and eventually cause slower learning in toddlers. In addition, children who live in an overcrowded environment tend to be withdrawn. Although, working class parents may find daily housekeeping difficult, cleaning the home for about an hour every week will create a more conducive environment for children to learn, play and develop mentally.
A Clean Home Will Lead to Fewer Missed School Days
A well-kept home, with a pleasant aroma, will enhance the academic performance of the children living in it. For children who are in elementary school, a clean home will enhance the immune system of the child. Consequently, strong resistance to disease germs will enable the child to remain healthy throughout the school term. Absence from school due to illness will be drastically reduced or completely eliminated. Similarly, the mother will not have to take several days off from work to attend to her sick child at home.
Recent research, which surveyed over 5,000 students in high school, showed that children living in clean homes obtained higher grades than students who were not. Over 80% of those who had top grades said that their home had a clean and pleasant scent. On the other hand, more than 30% of the students with poor grades said their homes had an unpleasant odour. A clean home will enable a child to study better at home and obtain better grades at school. The academic performance of the child and productivity of the parents will be influenced positively by the clean home environment.
There is a strong link between unclean homes and unhealthy children. Children who are raised in poorly maintained and untidy homes perform poorly at school because their learning is impaired by their environment. However, through regular cleaning and re-arrangement of items in the home, a child’s health, mental development and academic performance will be enhanced.
1. http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/factsheets/fs284/en/, The environment and health for children and their mothers
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228167, Interactions of Top-down Mechanisms in the Human Visual Cortex
3. http://www.wilderness-programs-info.com/news/research-suggests-link-between-a-clean-home-and-academic-performance-04307.php, Link Between A Clean Home and Academic Performance
4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4489931/, Effects of Physical Environment on Children’s Development