People in other countries operate a little differently than we do here in the U.S.
In Siberia, parents allow their young children to play in the snow in their bathing suits, and they think it’s totally normal. More than that, they think it’s good for their health.
While I am no medical expert, and cannot say whether this is right or wrong, there is research that shows exposing children to the cold can create stronger resistance to illnesses.
According to the Siberian Times, “Some eighteen years ago we gathered together teachers and doctors to speak about our children’s health,” Olesya, head of Kindergarten Number 168 in Barnaul, southern Siberia says. “They were catching influenzas, and there were moments when half of the children attending the kindergarten were unwell. It was obvious that something needed to be done to make them grow stronger and be more resilient against viruses.”
She continued, “This is how we came to the idea of boosting their immunity up by doing this exercise with buckets of chilly water outside in the cold. We tested it on ourselves and our own children first, when both adults and children were first going out and splashing their feet with water, and in some months pouring cold water bucket over our heads.”
After six months of these water exercises, children reportedly had a stronger resistance to illness. “Our kids were now able to go to the kindergarten and even if someone had infection, they were no longer catching it.”
The next step was to speak with parents about allowing their kids to shower themselves with cold water in the middle of the winter, and while some were very skeptical, other parents agreed to allow their children to try it. “Now the kindergarten runs a separate group of children where all of them start with the cold water bucket from the tender age of two,” says Olesya. “I am completely sure: these children are noticeably healthier.”
Today, the kindergarten called Rodnichok, or Water Spring, and the cold water treatment goes on for two-to-six-year-olds all year round.
The children go out in the snow for up to a minute and a half, and this is only for the kids whose parents allow them to do it. First, they stretch with their teachers inside, and after running outside, they get changed and go and eat.
Six-year-old Masha Rymnova says, “I like dousing. Why do I like it? Because I want to be healthy and strong.”
Watch the children dump buckets of cold water on their heads outside in the snow:
Here’s another video of this controversial practice:
What do you think of this practice? Do you think it boosts children’s immune system? Would you ever let your child try this?
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[Featured Image Credit: The Siberian Times]