Bookishness, Mamaishness

Toddlers & Glasses

helping toddlers wear glasses

Earlier this year, we noticed that Clara seemed to have one eye that was crossing. After several visits to the ophthalmologist, we learned that she did, in fact, have a problem (strabismus), and that she would need to wear glasses – bifocals, in fact. After I recovered from the initial surprise, I immediately worried about how my toddler would do with her new specs.

helping your toddler wear glasses

I mean, this is cute and all, right? But how long did she really leave those on? Maybe five minutes? What would we do when she needed to wear glasses all day, every day? It turned out that we needed a lot of patience – and one very good book.

Toddler wearing glasses

Here’s Clara in her car seat after leaving the optometrist with her brand new glasses. (Those are Miraflex glasses, complete with happening elastic strap, if you’re curious.) She was briefly very excited, as you can see. This lasted for about the first ten minutes of the twenty minute drive home. Then, she ripped the glasses off and threw them down on the floorboard.

When we got home, she fought me tooth and nail to keep the glasses off. I put them away, and tried again the next day, with slightly more success. From there, things went downhill. Just looking at the glasses made her scream and cry, to the point where she was hysterical. Since we are actually trying to correct a vision problem, I began to get concerned.

Googling led me to bribery – offering TV as long as she would keep her glasses on. No luck, since Clara would just as soon not watch TV if it meant she didn’t have to wear the glasses.

Things got a little bit better, but she still spent more time with her glasses off than on, and we were nearly two months into this adventure. Then, our good friend Jennifer came to the rescue with an AWESOME birthday gift.

toddlers wearing glasses

[amazon text=I Can See Just Fine&asin=1419708015], written and illustrated in a charming vintage style by Eric Barclay, really made a difference for Clara. In all honesty, the book is aimed at school-aged children, but something about it just worked for us. The story’s main character, Paige, is having a hard time with her vision, but whenever the issue comes up, she says, “I can see just fine!”

Paige’s vision issues are always addressed humorously, as you see on the book’s cover. At the point where she finally gets her glasses, Barclay’s illustrations are perfection – one side of the spread shows a blurry view of the optometrist, and the other shows her in perfect clarity – with a funny scene happening out the window behind her. The book even talks about what happens when Paige’s glasses get filthy, which is certainly a fact of life when your toddler wears glasses.

If Clara started throwing a fit about the glasses, I’d try to redirect her to “the book,” and laughing along with Paige generally made her willing to try the glasses again. We got to the point where I could say, “do you want to put on your glasses like Paige,” and she’d put them on.

Toddler wearing glasses

By Halloween, glasses were much more a normal part of our day. There are certainly still moments where she struggles to keep them on, and she has learned that ripping them off is the perfect finale to a tantrum. However, I no longer worry that we are causing permanent damage to her vision because she refuses to wear them at all.

If you’ve got tips to keep your toddler in glasses, feel free to share them, just in case our book starts to lose its magic.

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