Guest post by Sara Roberts
Getting glasses can be tough on a child’s self- esteem, but as a parent, you have the power to head off problems from the start.
1. Keep your eyes open
Be aware of how well your child can see. As he or she begins to grow up, engage her in conversation about what she sees. Watch her behavior and characteristic habits – is she squinting at Sponge Bob? Does her hand keep brushing her face near her eyes? Habits such as these can indicate visual problems. The wise parent anticipates these problems, and if you’re noticing any squinting or headaches in your child, you should be thinking about an eye exam. It’s not really that tragic to wear glasses, especially when you realize how much more you can see when you wear them! Support and encourage them to see better vision as a benefit.
2. Choose frames enthusiastically
It you treat it as an adventure, your child’s first trip to the optician can help him come out of the shell he’s been in, the lonely isolation of poor vision. Do a little homework and take your child to an optical outlet that has many different choices, rather than endless walls of similar frames. Explore all styles and materials and find the most comfortable fit. Keep the conversation going: point out pictures of eyeglass wearers in magazines or on TV. Try to get your child to express an opinion about certain styles. Try to learn what styles are appealing to your child, so that he or she can find glasses that fit their personal style. This is a great self-esteem builder.
3. Be realistic about your child’s needs
Glasses enable a child to participate in sports they could not see well enough to play before, but they can also get in the way, fall off, or get broken in vigorous play. Think about getting a support strap that will keep the glasses on. Even better, think about getting contact lenses, the daily wear kind. Children at any age can wear contacts, and they offer a real competitive advantage in competitive sports.
4. Teach good visual habits
Get your child out doors to play on a regular basis. Don’t let him sit in from of the TV or computer all day. Staring at one place for a long time is unnatural – looking off into the distance, catching a ball or riding a bike are all eye-healthy activities.
5. Let the good times roll
Don’t buy a child an expensive pair of glasses – they’ll break or be outgrown in no time. Find a frame you like and get an extra one or two, so the child won’t feel too nervous about losing or breaking them. You can find an eyeglass frame provider online with much lower prices than retail, choose your frame, provide your doctor’s prescription, and receive glasses in the mail. The peace of mind for you and your child will be a definite bonus.