Preparing Your Child for a Visit to the Eye Doctor

Children with poor vision often don’t realize anything is wrong. Their vision seems normal to them, and they don’t realize it can be any different. The idea of visiting an eye doctor can seem frightening to them, particularly if they are very young. However, you can set your child’s mind at ease and make the experience a positive one by following these tips.

Pain Free Visit
Kids often think of shots when they imagine going to the doctor’s office. Their minds drift to painful blood pressure cuffs at the family doctor and loud tools at the dentist. Reassure them that the eye doctor will just look at their eyes to see if glasses are necessary. The only time a trip to the eye doctor may be a little uncomfortable is if the eyes have to be dilated. Reassure your child that the dilating drops won’t hurt, although they might tickle a little.

Play Games
Prepare your child by making games out of some things the doctor will do. Challenge them to sit still and avoid blinking while you flash a bright light on their eyes. Play the staring game to help them learn how to sit still without blinking. Visit sites like Nickjr.com to find games related to visiting the eye doctor. Make a homemade eye chart to use at home, so they can practice trying to read the small print and answering questions about what they see.

Encourage Questions
Kids are never too young to understand that they are allowed to ask doctors questions. Encourage them to talk openly with the doctor and ask questions. Tell them that there are no wrong or right answers to the questions they will be asked. Let them know that the important thing is that they answer honestly, so the right prescription can be ordered.

Good Timing
Consider the timing of the eye appointment. Don’t schedule an exam during a regular naptime. If your child tends to be cranky in the morning, then choose an afternoon time. Regardless of the appointment time, make sure your child is rested before the appointment. Also, make sure your child is fed so there won’t be any cries of hunger at the appointment.

Pick Frames While Waiting
While waiting for the eye doctor, let your child peruse the frames. It will help pass the time, and it can even build some excitement about the possibility of needing glasses. You can guide your child towards appropriate selections, but let your son or daughter have the final say on the glasses that are purchased.

Rewards
A new experience like visiting the eye doctor merits a small reward. Promise them a trip to the park afterwards, or possibly a smoothie on the way home. The reward can even be some extra playtime with their friends, or the chance to make a fun snack.

The first trip to the optometrist doesn’t have to be scary or stressful. Taking the time to prepare your child will prepare him or her for the visit, and it will lay the groundwork for a positive experience. With a little work on your part, your child may even start to look forward to the experience.

Guest author Sara Roberts is a mother of two and a freelance blogger with a background in health writing, and is a content contributor for Just Eyewear, an online retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses. This article was written by a guest author. Would you like to write for us?

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