They Can See Clearly Now -- 5 Steps to Helping Your Child Adjust to New Glasses
Finding out that your child needs to wear glasses can mean a big adjustment for both you and your son or daughter. Some parents may feel disappointment or even feelings of failure at this early childhood vision probably. The good news is that you can make it easier and have a successful transition to glasses if you follow a few basic steps.
Check Your Own Attitude
Convincing your child about the benefits and necessity of wearing glasses begins with your own positive attitude. Realize that glasses will make an important difference in your child's ability to see, to learn, to expand their world, to experience new things and to enjoy life more. While it may come with some early difficulties, it will result in a life-long reward.
Check the Fit
Uncomfortable glasses will make the whole process more difficult, causing your child to focus on the discomfort more than the benefits of seeing clearly. Work with your optometrist to ensure that the rims, nose pieces and ear pieces are as comfortable as possible. Choose a frame style that the child is happy with and that is physically light. Then keep checking the fit as your child grows or as the glasses suffer damage and wear.
Start Slow and Positive
Even if your doctor recommends the glasses for full-time wear, it's likely best to start with short periods of time during fun activities. Make the glasses part of a reward activity like watching a favorite cartoon or playing a certain game. Keep it light and controlled and don't panic if your child takes them off sometimes. Be positive about the benefits. Highlight other family members or friends who wear glasses.
Choose to Focus on the Best Moments
If your child has trouble remembering to wear their glasses or dislikes them, you may want to focus on the right moment to make your point. The best chance of getting your child to "want" to wear corrective lenses is when they see the benefit for themselves. So, choose times when they will provide that clear and obvious difference. That may be such activities as watching a movie, watching or playing sports, reading or going to the zoo. If you focus your efforts on making the benefits clear, so to speak, your child will have more desire to use them.
Replace Them Kindly but Firmly
Once the initial transition stages are completed, your child should be wearing the glasses more readily. If you still have some difficulty with him or her removing the glasses, begin replacing them firmly but kindly. Don't get angry, but make it clear that the glasses are not optional and that the child is not in charge of when to wear them. Make them part of the morning routine, but still compliment your child for wearing them regularly. Discuss your child's new glasses with his or her teacher or day care provider so that everyone can be consistent with the child about wearing his or her glasses.
Adjusting to wearing glasses may mean some work for both you and your child, but it's a long-term investment in their health and well-being. By following these five steps, you can set your whole family up for success in this new area. If you have any questions about helping your child get used to wearing glasses, consider speaking to a vision specialist, such as Cripe Stephens & Stickel.