When Your Children Need Glasses
The selection of glasses available for children nowadays is far more appealing than in previous decades but that does not stop it being a traumatic time.
Try to remember back to when you were at school - anything different makes you stand out and, although it's a cliché, children can be really cruel.
The cruellest thing is that at the very time when your child will feel most vulnerable, they are most likely to be teased.
As a good parent, it is your job to make your child's need to wear glasses as painless and positive as possible. Many children wear glasses and there are affordable frames out there.
How Do You Know Your Child Needs Glasses?The first signs of needing glasses that you or your child's teacher may notice include squinting to see the blackboard, moving closer to the front of the class, seeming less likely to answer questions than before, headaches or rubbing their eyes.
Hopefully, you will have been taking your child for regular eye tests at the opticians, but if not, now is the time. Perhaps don't make a big deal of it, fit the appointment into a shopping trip on a Saturday morning rather than in school time. Chose a large, reputable opticians that will have plenty of experience in testing children - the big high street chains are more geared up for this and the process will seem less medical.
If your optician diagnoses that your child needs glasses, do not be disappointed, or act as though it is a 'problem'. Just go and pick out some nice frames and don't mention the cost. There will be help available in paying for the frames and if this is an issue for you, try to talk to the optician apart from your child so they do not feel embarrassed or responsible for the difficulty.
Looking Good is All ImportantChoosing the right frame is important - some of the children's designs are a bit too wacky - you may think they look cute but it will be a different story in the playground. Go for something not too bright or dark, a subtle frame in either plastic or metal. Take advantage of the good offers around - there is often a free second pair option, which allows you to choose prescription sunglasses. It may also be a good idea to get some prescription goggles - you may find that the internet is a better bet for these as opticians may not be able to offer them or only at a high price. The lenses in prescription goggles do not need to be as exact as glasses, so shop around - they are available for as little as £15 and will make all the difference in summer and for keen swimmers.
Be PreparedNow the practicalities of the frames are sorted out, it is a good idea to deal with the emotional issues in order to prepare your child for what may be a difficult time. Your child will not be the only one in their school or probably even in their class to wear glasses, but it is worth making sure they are ready to handle any teasing that may come their way. Firstly, tell you child that they do not have to hand over their glasses if someone in class says 'Let me try them on' - this is a sure fire way to get them broken and your child may feel embarrassed at not being able to see while they prance around. Just say no. Secondly, arm them with confidence to fend off silly playground taunts. Do not dismiss it - they are not adults, this is important.
The final piece of advice is to make sure you maintain your child's glasses and eye care - show them how to clean their glasses, have regular eye tests and buy new frames whenever they grow out of them as their faces change shape.