Wearing eyeglasses for the first time can be a startling change at first. Understanding and dealing with change is hard for everyone, but it can be particularly difficult for children. Parents can make the adjustment period go by more smoothly by following these helpful hints:
1. Explain that wearing glasses is not a defect but a necessary part of good health.
Social messages have a big impact on how we think about our appearance, and even very young children are not exempt from the message that glasses are “nerdy” or “dorky”. Children can have a hard time accepting new eyeglasses if they do not understand why they are important. Stress the health benefits of good vision in child-friendly, easy-to-understand terms.
2. Let your child pick out his or her own frames.
Glasses can be a fashion statement and an expression of personal style. Letting your child pick out his or her own frames instills a sense of ownership and pride. Look through magazines together to pick out colors and styles that are appealing. You can even turn it into a craft project, where you make a collage of possible options before going to the vision center. Do not rush your child and allow them to try on many types of frames before making the final selection.
3. Teach them the real-world benefits of clear vision.
Take a trip to a museum, art gallery, or a bookstore to show your child the positive benefits of corrective lenses. Have them observe the world with and without their new glasses and talk about the differences they see. Spending extra time with a parent doing special activities can also help kids work through any negative feelings they have about their new change in appearance.
4. Encourage your child to look for role models who also wear glasses.
Look through magazines, browse online, and talk to friends and family members who also wear eyeglasses. Show your child that people from all walks of life, even celebrities like Katy Perry, benefit from wearing corrective lenses. Have them play reporter and interview a friend or family member about their own experiences with glasses and the benefits they provide.
5. Make wearing and caring for glasses a part of your child’s daily routine.
Routine is an important part of a child’s life and adopting a new change into a daily schedule is a vital step toward finding the new normal. Show your child how to clean and store their glasses and provide them with a cleaning cloth in a color or pattern that they find appealing. Make a special place in a bathroom or a bedside table for their glasses to stay overnight and designate a time for your child to put them back on in the morning. Patience and resisting the temptation to nag your child is key while they are learning.
6. Label your child’s glasses to prevent mix-ups
Have your child’s initials etched into the inside of their glasses or use a permanent pen to write them discreetly. While this won’t prevent your child from losing their glasses, it will prevent school day mix-ups and can instill a sense of ownership and responsibility in caring for their new accessory.
7. Start early
We recommend scheduling first eye appointments when children enter kindergarten or first grade. While adjusting to wearing eyeglasses can be difficult for young children, early diagnosis and treatment is key to maintaining eye health.