by Sara Roberts
If your child needs glasses, it can be an excellent opportunity to teach them about responsibility. There are several ways to get them excited about taking care of their new spectacles. It’s very important that you are patient and persistent in helping your child develop appropriate new habits to take care of their glasses properly.
Get them Involved
Your child will be much more likely to take care of their glasses if they actually like them! To the greatest extent possible, your child should pick out the frames they like best. Obviously if your child picks the most expensive frames in the store and it’s simply a matter of being unable to afford them, ask your optician if they could recommend some that look similar, or see if you can purchase them online to save money. If your child picks bright orange frames and you hate orange, try to remember that these are not your glasses – they’re for your child. If your child has his heart set on orange but you buy blue, he’ll be less excited about them and therefore less likely to take care of them.
The same principle goes for the glasses case. Let them pick out the one they like best and they’ll be more likely to use it. Get them excited about this cool little box that none of his friends have. If they have a favorite cartoon character or superhero, look online for unusual cases you think they’d like – but let them choose!
Make it Fun
One popular way to get kids involved in taking care of their glasses is to incorporate games and imagination. For example, pretend your child is a superhero and their glasses give them special powers. In order for the powers to work, they must have their glasses with them at all times, and they must be kept clean. Another option is to do a reward system. Build a chart and post it on the refrigerator. Before the game starts, ask your child what reward they’d like and agree to terms. For example, if they take care of their glasses every day for a week, you’ll go have dinner at their favorite restaurant. It takes around three weeks to adopt new habits, so be sure to continue the game for at least one month to ensure their new habits become ingrained.
Teach Proper Care from the Start
Children are accustomed to playing with toys, so they may see their new glasses as simply a new toy. They’ll fiddle with the nose pads or share them with friends at school. It’s important to teach your child proper care from day one. Include these steps:
- Use both hands: When taking off or putting on glasses, your child should always use two hands. Not only will this reduce the amount of dirt and fingerprints on the lenses, it will also help keep them from getting bent, going out of adjustment, or being broken.
- Rinse before you wash: Your child should never clean their glasses when they’re dry – always run them under warm water first. This is because dirt and grime accumulate on the lenses. If you rub them without rinsing them first, the lenses can become scratched.
- Use a special cloth: Don’t let your child get into the habit of cleaning their glasses with whatever shirt they happen to have on. They could clean their glasses after they get out of the sandbox, while their t-shirt is also covered with sand! Always use a soft cloth made specifically for cleaning their glasses.
Develop a Routine
Your child should eventually incorporate their glasses into part of their normal daily routine, just like brushing their teeth and changing into their PJs before bed. This is the ideal time to clean their glasses, removing the debris from the day so they’re ready for school in the morning. The case should be packed into the backpack along with the cleaning cloth. You might find it hard to believe that – in time – taking care of their new glasses will become like second nature to your child!
Set an Example
If you wear glasses yourself, make sure you’re setting a good example. Clean your glasses together each night before bed, and make sure you don’t pull them off your face with one hand. Your child will emulate what you do, not what you say.
Sara Roberts writes for Just Eyewear, an online retailer of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses.