How to Sweet Talk Your Sweethearts Into Sporting Their Spectacles
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Lisa Holmes
So August has been a pretty busy month, huh, Auntie? Along with cramming in those final summer days out with your nephews and nieces, there’s the back-to-school preparation, immunizations, and if you’re lucky, your own little vacation after a summer filled with watching the kids. But whilst the moms and dads are busy organizing schedules, we know you won’t have forgotten that August is also Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month – the perfect chance to get your nieces’ and nephews’ eyes checked out before going back to school.
Eye Health and Safety Month is the perfect time to book an eye appointment with your pediatrician or ophthalmologist to check that there are no vision or health problems with the kids’ eyes. It is also a time to reflect on eye safety and the potential risks that everyday activities and objects can cause. Vision testing should begin at around age 3, but if your niece or nephew still hasn’t had an eye test, then don’t delay – encourage their parents, or offer yourself, to take them today, especially if you have noticed any squinting, crossed eyes, or if there is a family history of poor eye health. Hopefully their tests will come back clear, but with 25% of school aged children having vision problems, there is a chance that they may need glasses to help them see, and getting them to wear them can be a challenge in itself. If your nieces and nephews are prescribed glasses right before heading back to school, then here are some tips to help them adjust.
1. Make them see.
Firstly, the type of challenges that you come across when kids need to wear glasses often varies, depending on their age. For young children there might be a practical problem in getting them to physically keep their glasses on and not lose or break them, whereas older kids might have more emotional concerns when it comes wearing glasses. In either case, getting them to understand just how important and beneficial glasses are should help.
With younger children, you should put their glasses on them and then try to engage them in something fun, such as an intricate toy, a TV show, or a game. When they realize how much better they can see, they will begin to appreciate and love their glasses. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be 100% careful with them though, so try and entice them into putting their glasses safely away by buying them a cute or interesting case.
With older kids, you can afford to be a little more blunt. As they approach puberty, kids become increasingly self aware and any big change to their appearance can leave them feeling anxious, vulnerable, and withdrawn. With the help of their raging hormones, these sorts of feelings can escalate quickly, leading to (sometimes severe) mental, social and behavioral problems, which families need to recognize and be sensitive to. But they also need to be educated and regularly reminded that health should come before vanity; not wearing their glasses could cause serious problems for their future eyesight. Don’t be apologetic about them having to wearing glasses, instead hit them with some facts that will shock them – for example, if they continue to let their sight problems go untreated, then their brain will accommodate the vision issue and may affect their ability to learn, making them less able to function socially and academically. You should also discreetly make their teachers aware that they have to wear glasses in case they try to sneak them off during class.
2. Cool Auntie, cool frames.
When it comes to glasses, nothing will grab their enthusiasm like cool, funky frames that are personal to them. Make a fun shopping trip out of it and allow them to try on as many different styles and variations as they like until they come up with something they really love. Brand names can really help out here, especially if your little niece is in love with Disney Princesses(R) or your teenage nephew has his heart set on Ray Bans(R). Yes the price tag might be slightly more expensive, but if it helps them to feel comfortable, cool and confident, it could be the best money you ever spent on them, especially for older kids who are apt to be more responsible with their ownership.
3. Instill a sense of pride.
Impress them further by reminding them that whilst the media tends to portray the archetypal geeky kid as wearing glasses and braces, actually geek is the new chic and it has never been cooler to wear glasses – as stars such as Taylor Swift, Will.i.am and Demi Lovato all testify. There will be times that their peers may mock or at least pass comment on their glasses, but if they can come back with a witty quip or some celeb name-dropping, then it will make them feel a lot less vulnerable and attacked. Aside from this though, this is a perfect opportunity to remind them that looks really are only skin deep. Glasses are for health purposes, a medical aid that is there to help them. It doesn’t change the person they are and they are simply great. Building up their self confidence and ego will make them feel proud, self assured and resilient to any nasty comments. Auntie is great at giving compliments, so never miss an opportunity to tell them how well they are doing or how fabulous they look in their new specs.
Make it easy and comfortable for your niece or nephew to wear their glasses by ensuring that they are a good fit. With kids growing so rapidly, you may find that glasses soon become tight, but you also don’t want them to be oversized and slipping off the face. Resist the temptation to use securing straps or ear supports right away – these can be useful in keeping glasses on the face but can become uncomfortable and irritating, making younger children in particular associate glasses with discomfort.
Published: August 20, 2013