by Kevin Benson, M.D., Board Certified in Pediatrics
Summer is upon us once again. It is a season that most of us look forward to after the cool, dreary world of the Fall, Winter and early Spring. But along with the warmer temperatures and sunny skies come challenges to us parents who are trying to look out for our kids.
Being new to the Permian Basin, my biggest challenge this summer has been keeping my daughter busy. Like many teens, she would prefer to spend her summer days and nights watching television, chatting with friends online (via text, games or other apps) or playing video games like Minecraft. When I ask patients in my practice what they have planned once school lets out, most of them look at me quizzically and respond, “Nothing”.
As any savvy parent knows, nothing is never nothing. (How many of us have heard that crash somewhere in the house, called out to find out what was going on, to which the reply is “nothing”?!) Kids who are not engaged in positive activities will often find themselves engaged in negative ones.
So what can a busy parent do to combat the popular trend of inactivity and malaise that infects our children from June to August?
- Think ahead! It’s not too late to scan the local area for day camps (or away camps, if age appropriate and in your budget), sport camps, arts and crafts activities, or maybe even a Vacation Bible School or two.
- Learn a new skill! You know that cooking show you and your family watch. What would be better than your kids learning to cook for you? Instagramming with Abuela as she shows them how to prepare the family dinner might be the best of both worlds.
- Learn a new language! Despite the overwhelming nonsense that the app stores feed us, there are some real gems hidden in there. My daughter and I do Duolingo to practice our Spanish … but there are dozens of inexpensive language apps to open up new worlds to our kids. Better than another round of Angry Birds.
- Practice, practice, practice. The other night, my wife and I were surprised to hear the melodious sound of a guitar wafting through our house. We were shocked to see my daughter had picked up the instrument her grandfather had given her and was playing. She had lessons a few years ago, lost interest and it was collecting dust. But after a fit of boredom, she picked it up again and now had extra time to work on that skill.
- Involve them in your life. I am amazed at how many adults do not know which end of a screwdriver to hold. I exaggerate of course, but I am happy to know that I am relatively handy around the house. And I owe those skills to my dad, whom I assisted in all sorts of home projects through my childhood. Even though my job usually consisted of holding a flashlight, I learned a lot and got the courage to try new things with that knowledge base. Even though kids don’t appreciate this at the time, involving them in some of the mundane tasks of our lives will help prepare them for the future.
- Be an inspiration. It’s easy to tell our kids to go out and play while we watch a repeat of “the housewives of Ector County”. It’s difficult to get out and take that family walk around the block with the dogs.
Remember, life is short, kids grow up fast. Build great memories with your family this summer.
Meet Kevin Benson, M.D., Board Certified in Pediatrics who specializes in:
- Comprehensive Pediatric Care
- Care From Birth to age 18 (Newborns/Infants/Toddlers/Adolescents)
- Allergy & Asthma Care Referrals
- School, Sports, Camp Physicals
- Sick Child Visits
- Routine Wellness Exams
- Health Education
MCH Family Health Clinic 6030 West University Odessa, TX 79764
Office Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Same Day Appointments Available Call (432) 640-6600 for more information or to make an appointment