Glasses: Helping Children Adjust

Wearing glasses can be hard for children to accept. They may worry that the other kids will tease them. They may feel different. Some children don't like wearing glasses and they 'forget' to put them on or 'forget' to take them to school. They think that they won't be able to play sports or that they'll look ugly. Glasses may feel uncomfortable or heavy at first. There are several things you can do to help get young children to wear their glasses.

Let children help pick out frames that they like.

Tell them that they look great when they wear their glasses. Many children are concerned that they look weird, or that everyone is looking at them when they first get glasses.

Make sure the glasses fit properly.

Glasses should fit snugly, but not too tight. Glasses that are too tight can hurt behind the ears. Loose glasses will start to slide down your child's nose. The place where you get the glasses will adjust them at no charge.

Keep safety in mind.

Children's lenses should be made of polycarbonate. It is the safest material and is lighter weight than other lenses. If your child plays sports, sports goggles help protect against eye injury.

Make wearing glasses enjoyable.

Start your child off by having her wear the glasses for short periods of time. It also helps to link wearing glasses to something the child enjoys, such as watching a favorite video.

Be positive.

Children, like adults, thrive on affection. The attitude of parents and grandparents can influence a child more than most people think. Make glasses seem "cool" for your child. Point out sports figures, celebrities, or family members who wear glasses. For very young children, "being just like Daddy" may be what counts. Point out how good the glasses look on your child.

Don't nag.

If the child takes her glasses off, put them back on in a firm but loving manner. Compliment your child for remembering to wear his glasses. Nagging or trying to reason with your child will not improve glasses wearing.

Make it routine.

Make the glasses a part of the child's daily routine. Put them on in the morning as the child is getting dressed and take them off before naps and bedtime. Let teachers know when the child should wear glasses.

Keep discipline calm and matter-of-fact.

Glasses are not some awful torture. They help your child see. Sometimes you just need to insist that your child wear the glasses. Use time-out as a form of discipline if your child will not wear his glasses.

Keep follow-up appointments.

Your child's healthcare provider can help you convince your child to wear glasses. Your provider can also check the fit to make sure that the glasses are not too tight and uncomfortable or so loose that they slip and slide.

Written by Edward R. Christophersen, PhD.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-08-13
Last reviewed: 2008-12-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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