As any parent will tell you, kids absolutely love playing outside when the sun is shining and they often do so without any care in the world about the dangers which the sun could be doing to their fragile bodies. Out here in Arizona this is a particular problem and when the summer temperatures can reach up to 100 degrees, it can be a worrying time for parents.
I was chatting to a colleague of mine recently, Michael Eckhardt Tucson resident like myself and a fellow father, about the rise in the amount of hospital visits and illnesses that kids have been having in the area as a result of the sunshine. This conversation really worried me and I instantly decided that I refuse to ever be accused of not doing enough as a father, to protect my kids from death or damage as a result of the Tucson heat. I always protect my kids of course but in order to help out even more, I educated my kids on the dangers, and here is how you can too.
Making the Invisible, Visible
Most kids are very visual learners and this can pose a challenge when teaching them about the sun as they cannot see the damage that is taking place. In order to better teach my kids then, I did the egg exercise so that they could see just how hot things can get. First we cooked an egg on the stove and I let the kids briefly feel just how hot the pan had to be to cook the egg. I asked the kids if they could walk on that kind of heat and they naturally said no. We then went outside and I cracked an egg on the sidewalk, which of course cooked in seconds. The kids were amazed and instantly I could see that the penny had dropped regarding heat.
Nobody wants to expose their child to shocking images but I felt it was necessary for them to understand the dangers of the sun. I showed my children some terrible cases of sunburn online and told them just how it had happened. This both scared and tight my kids a little more about the true dangers of the sunshine.
Work With Them
To make sure that my message hit home, I worked with my kids for the next few days around managing their time in the sun, their suncream levels and the amount of fluid which they were drinking. Each child took an alarm clock which sounded every hour, when the alarm went off, they would come and see me and tell me what they should be doing in terms of protection. Whilst they may have missed the mark a few times, all of my kids were really passionate about protecting themselves and since then this has carried on each day. I know that the kids don’t have perfect knowledge about all of the sun’s dangers, but I feel like we have made a very productive start.