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Getting Kids to Wear Glasses

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I recently spoke with a reader whose grandson was struggling in school, specifically with reading. As we discussed options for summer practice, she mentioned that he had glasses but “refuses to wear them.” He’s a young student and I was surprised at his reaction – little kids often deliberately “fail” eye exams so they can get glasses.

My first question would be, “Why doesn’t he want to wear them?” Are they uncomfortable? Do they interfere with sports or other activities? Or did he hear somewhere that glasses are unattractive? Sometimes as parents we project our childhood memories of not fitting in or being different from other kids.

Here are some suggestions for helping our children adopt to wearing glasses – some work better for teens, some for younger students.

•They should be able to “see” the differences and recognize that things are clearer, reading is easier, copying from the board so much nicer. Remind them that catching the ball, shopping, reading a menu just got a whole lot easier.

•Help them find the perfect pair of glasses for their face. Let them trace the outline of their face in a mirror. Look through magazines at colors and styles. Make a collage of actors, sports figures, super heroes, musicians, cartoon characters, or friends who wear glasses.

•Don’t rush the selection process. Make it an outing; perhaps invite a couple of friends to help choose and then go have lunch. Consider buying a non-prescription pair for her best friend. In most cases, let the child decide. They are more likely to wear them if they like the color, shape, and style.

•Practice. Let him/her wear the glasses around the house before the debut in public. Make sure they fit correctly and aren’t leaving pinch marks on her nose or hurting his ears.

•If you have a particularly reluctant child, make a plan for reward. If he wears them for 2 weeks without complaining, you’ll make his favorite dinner. 2 weeks is probably enough for him to quit noticing.

Be sensitive to their reluctance but don’t buy into it. Many of us look better with glasses. But it isn’t about looks; it’s about being able to see! It is very difficult to succeed in school if you cannot see.