Getting Your Kid to Wear Glasses

child wearing glasses

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If you're struggling to get your child to wear glasses, you're not alone. Many parents have searched for hints and tricks to make their child more open to the idea of wearing glasses every day.

Most kids consider wearing glasses a hindrance, or they feel abnormal and different from their peers. Your child may feel embarrassed to have others see that they indeed have a vision problem. Hearing your child has a vision problem can be difficult for both of you, but getting your child to wear glasses may be even more of a challenge.

Breaking the News

Some children aren't bothered by the idea of wearing glasses. You may even be surprised to see the excitement from your child about picking out frames. But some children take the news differently—it's not easy to hear that your vision isn't perfect, but it may be even harder for a child to hear the news that they need something extra in order to see clearly.

If you need to tell your child about a vision problem, make sure you plan how to approach the subject of wearing glasses in a way that will be most comforting for your child. Depending on your child's temperament, it may be easier to allow your child's eye doctor to break the news. An eye doctor may be able to better inform your child of the benefits of wearing a pair of glasses. 

Picking Out Frames

In order to instill a sense of ownership, allow your child to pick out their own glasses. When the time comes, plan a special day for "frame shopping." Most children enjoy picking out things by themselves, so allow them to try on as many frames as they want. Opticians can be very helpful to point your child in the right direction, depending on your child's facial shape and features. Help them narrow down the selections, then let them pick their favorite one.

Once your child's prescription glasses are ready, make a special trip to pick them up. Don't expect them to be eager to wear them all the time at first. Start slowly with short increments of wearing time that you gradually increase. Encourage them to wear their new eyeglasses and praise them for doing so. It won't be long until they are in the habit of wearing them every day. The more they wear them, the sooner they will become a normal part of their life.

Read more about pinhole glasses improving your vision.

Dealing With Wear Refusal

Picking out glasses is one thing, but actually getting your child to wear them is another. It’s very important that your child’s glasses fit properly. If they don't fit just right, they may not want to wear them. If the glasses are too loose, they might slip off easily and become annoying for your child to wear. If the glasses are too tight, they might be uncomfortable and hurt your child’s head or ears. If your child doesn't want to wear their glasses, you might consider being fitted again or asking an optician to check the fit.

Teasing and bullying are other reasons your child may not want to wear glasses. While it's true that wearing eyeglasses is becoming more of a hip thing to do and less of a nerdy thing, some kids may still be apprehensive. Kids are very self-conscious and don't want to stand out or be different than their friends. Consider speaking to your child's teacher about helping with encouraging your child at school, and to watch out for negative comments that might be discouraging.

Keeping Glasses Safe and Clean

Make sure you teach your child how to take care of their glasses. Remind them that their glasses cost a lot of money and they need to be taken care of in order to keep them nice and in tip-top shape.

Show your child how to use a cleaning solution specially made to clean eyeglasses and a microfiber cloth to clean the lenses. Tell your child that the glasses are very fragile and must be handled gently. Show them how to remove their glasses by using both hands to prevent them from becoming bent or out of shape.

Make sure your child knows to store their glasses in their hard case for protection. If they put their glasses in their backpack, make sure they go into the case first to prevent scratches or breakage.

Additional Hints and Tips

Getting your child to wear glasses may be challenging. With a little patience, however, your child will adjust to wearing their glasses in no time. Before you know it, wearing glasses will become a part of their everyday routine. The following are a few hints and tips to make the transition to wearing glasses easier for everyone.

  • If your child is under the age of two, choose a plastic frame. Plastic is the best material for toddlers. Elastic straps can help keep the glasses in place. If you do choose a metal frame, make sure it has spring hinges for ease of wear.
  • Check the warranty terms. A good warranty for kids' glasses will cover repairs and replacement if necessary.
  • Pick out a special spot to keep your child's glasses when not in use. Tell your child that the glasses are to be placed in the special place whenever they are not wearing them. This will help prevent the glasses from being lost or broken.
  • Praise your child when they wear their glasses without being told. It's a big step in the right direction when your child takes initiative.

A Word From Verywell

If you're having a hard time getting your child to wear their glasses, hang in there. It's important to keep working at it. Early childhood is the most critical time of your child's vision development. Blurry vision can prevent the visual system from developing in the proper ways. Wearing glasses to improve vision has been proven to improve school performance, and luckily most children adjust quickly to change. If you need help, don't hesitate to ask your eye doctor or your child's school counselor.

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  • American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS), Glasses for Children. Updated November 2015.