When your little one gets diagnosed with glasses it is daunting. A feeling of dread creeps into your heart and a million thoughts go through your mind.
Will they be able to adjust at school? How will your little ones handle this change? Will they be bullied for being different? Will they be able to handle a piece of equipment with them constantly? Will they be able to see themselves like they were? What did you do wrong that they got glasses so soon? Is there any way you can help them get rid of these?
Not for long mind you. Within a few hours your heart and brain align and you understand that this is not really a big deal. Specially if you come from a family of people with glasses or astigmatism which is known to be hereditary . Heart in hearts you knew this was inevitable but you just weren’t prepared for it to happen so early in their lives.
The thing that we forget is that with technology so advanced, such cases are being caught earlier than before. Also, that it is better that they get support for their eyes so that they are better equipped to see the world. Besides, it is only a matter of time before they will grow up and either get lenses or Lasik and this point will be moot. Also, wearing glasses in many cases can be used as an enhancement and one can just remove them before clicking pictures or going swimming.
I have shared our personal experience here, but I wanted to go ahead and break down step by step the ways in which you can help your child adjust to this life altering event.
Prepare Them Before Eye Test
This depends on the child. But I find a well informed child (as they are naturally curious) helps them understand why it is important to sit still and give the right answers. My son found it very difficult to focus on where the doctor needed him to. Knowing that his persistence was important for the end result encouraged him to have patience.
Also, don’t be overly optimistic. Prepare them for the possibility that when you leave the eye institute they may have a cool device that gives them the power to see better.
Encourage Them During The Test
Children squirm. Incessantly. You will need to ensure to have your the bucket of your patience fully stocked as they keep trying to get out of the contraption. I must have had to tell him a million ties to “stay in his seat” and “give the right answer”.
Help Them Process Their Feelings
The minute the doctor said, “He will have to wear glasses full time” , my son face fell and he was close to tears. Negating and saying that ,”It’s okay. It’s fine. ” won’t help anyone. Let them understand and accept this new truth. Explain to them in the simplest terms using their favorite characters or interests how this new device helps them enhance their life.
Pick Out Something Cool
Whatever “amazing” is for them currently. Let them enjoy the process of picking out glasses that are their favorite color. They will grow an attachment to the glasses only when they enjoy owning them. Even if the glasses may not be your favorite, help the little ones guide you to their choice.
Ensure the glasses are durable and inexpensive. Get the year warranty for they are sure to damage the first pair of glasses they get within the first year.
Milestone Day of Fun
The day you get your glasses should be a day they remember forever. Make it a day full of things to do. Their favorite outing, their favorite food and getting their glasses. We even got my son a toy but that was because he braved this unwanted change really well and we wanted to reward his positive outlook.
Compliment Them (Within Reason)
Make sure you, your family and friends make a happy deal of them getting glasses. Have them compliment your child on how wonderful they look with them. One of my neighbor’s very kindly told my son, ” Oh! You look so smart with your glasses. ” and that’s a comment he remembers to this day believing they make him smart. Haha.
But be careful not to over comment. My daughter was so worried about her friends not being able to recognize her with her glasses on. When everyone started complimenting her, she started avoiding wearing them because she thought people couldn’t see anything else about her.
Associate it with Someone They Look Up to
My husband and I both wear glasses and eventually now my son loves that fact that he has this in common with us. When children see a role model they adore wearing something similar they enjoy the change all the more (brands use this concept often ). On the first day, the only way my son stopped getting upset was when we reminded him that Superman wore glasses too.
Make It an Advantage
In the initial days, we explained to our son that his glasses are give his eyes super power. After understanding he went on to explain this to his other friends who also got diagnosed with glasses, which as endearing. Educating kids about the ways something is useful for them, helps them educate others or deal with comments when they do come.
Explain How To Care for Glasses
Like any tool, it is important to explain to them how to care for this new addition.
- Clean them with soft microfiber cloth.
- Keep said cloths handy.
- Wash the glasses often.
- Always keep them in the same place every time they take them off.
- Take them off only when scared of them getting broken in physical activities.
It is not easy for a child to constantly wear glasses. They find it uncomfortable and inconvenient. Most importantly, they feel scared of losing them. But once again, you have to reiterate that these are a tool to be used to ensure they see the world more clearly. A tool they need to keep close and be using all the time. It takes a lot of reminding before they get into the habit of wearing glasses.
Have your children or anyone around you gotten glasses yet? What do you think helped them adjust to them? Comment below and share your experience.