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How to get kids to wear glasses

young boy who won't wear his glasses

Not all kids are excited about wearing glasses

It’s a common worry for many parents who learn that their child has myopia: how will I get my kid to wear glasses?

While some kids may adapt quickly to glasses, others need more time. Kids may balk at wearing glasses for various reasons, such as: getting used to the feel of glasses, having an issue with fit or worrying about how glasses will look.

The good news is there are ways to get kids of all ages to wear glasses that can make the transition easier for you and your child.

How to get kids to wear glasses by age

The best ways to get kids to wear corrective eyewear vary based on the age of the child. The way to get a baby or toddler to wear glasses may be quite different from the way you convince a sixth-grader that glasses can be cool.

How to get a baby to wear glasses

How do you get a baby to wear glasses? An infant who has been diagnosed with myopia or another vision issue will need to get used to the feel of glasses. 

Start by putting the glasses on your baby and then playing a quick game or pulling out a fun toy. This way you distract your baby and make the experience fun. Your baby may also need a glasses strap to help keep their glasses in place (see below).

SEE RELATED: Signs that your baby needs glasses

How to get a toddler to wear glasses

Need to get your 1-year-old, 2-year-old or 3-year-old to wear glasses? Try to have a positive attitude when you put on their glasses. 

Point out your child’s favorite book and movie characters who wear glasses. Ask if they can name any other cool characters who wear glasses. Make a chore chart and give your kid a star or fun sticker when they wear their glasses all day or as prescribed.

SEE RELATED: 16 best children's books about wearing glasses

How to get a young child to wear glasses

If you have a preschooler, kindergartener or elementary school aged child, start by letting them pick out frames they love. Kids of this age may be drawn to frames in fun colors and shapes with cool details like polka dots, sparkles or bows. 

Make putting on glasses part of their morning routine. Consider using a weekly points chart with which your kid earns points each time they put on their glasses on their own or wear them all day. At the end of the week, let your child trade in points for rewards like a later bedtime or a new toy.

SEE RELATED: How to talk to your kids about myopia

Helping children of all ages adjust to glasses

What if your child says their new glasses are blurry or they see better without their glasses? 

This is normal at first because your child’s eyes are used to working harder to see clearly. Be patient: It can take three months or so for a child to adjust to their new glasses.

Here are some tips for helping kids, from young children to tweens or teens, get used to wearing glasses:

  • Be positive. Start by talking about getting glasses in an upbeat way. Ask what kind of glasses they want, and browse frames in cool colors and designs with your child.

  • Pick the right glasses. Get help from your eye care professional in choosing a pair of glasses that are the right size and fit. Discomfort and poor fit are top reasons kids don’t want to wear glasses.

  • Talk about the benefits. Make a point of talking to your child about the upsides of wearing glasses. Point out how much better they can see, learn and do their favorite activities with clearer vision thanks to glasses. 

  • Be a good listener. If your child doesn’t want to wear glasses, ask why and listen to the answer. Have a heart-to-heart chat about their concerns, and try to reassure them or come up with solutions together.

  • Consider an alternative. What if your child has gone through the adjustment period and still doesn’t like wearing glasses? You may want to talk to your child’s eye doctor about alternatives such as contact lenses. Many kids can wear contact lenses with no problem.

How to keep children’s glasses on

It can be a challenge to keep glasses on kids, especially babies, toddlers and preschoolers. There are things you can do to keep your child’s glasses from falling off their face. For example, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus suggests:

  • Glasses straps for kids – Glasses straps can keep children’s glasses on comfortably and securely. They also come in many colors, designs and materials that may appeal to kids. You can even buy glasses straps for kids printed with cartoon characters.

  • Ear grips for kids – Ear grips or hooks, also called silicone temple tips, slide onto the arms (temples) of the glasses. They sit just behind the ears and keep the glasses from sliding forward and falling off.

Both of these solutions offer an easy and affordable way to keep kids’ glasses on. They come in different colors and typically cost less than $10. You can try one or both solutions to see if they work for your child.

Kids wearing glasses for the first time

Just like anything else new, your child will need time to get used to wearing glasses. Talk with your child’s eye doctor about the best way to help kids wear glasses for the first time. 

You may want to start out by trying to get your child to wear their glasses all the time. If they need short breaks from wearing glasses, let them take a “glasses break” in their room. 

The goal will be to get your child used to wearing their glasses full time. But some kids do need to work up to that when wearing glasses for the first time.

Eye drops to help kids adjust to glasses

If your kid needs extra help getting used to glasses, their eye doctor may prescribe eye drops that help children adjust to glasses.

The medicine, atropine, relaxes the eye and makes vision a bit more blurry without glasses. Atropine may come in a bottle with a dropper in liquid form or as a tube of ointment.

Your child may be a little more sensitive to light while using atropine. In that case, try putting them in sunglasses or a hat with a wide brim when outdoors.

When your child refuses to wear glasses

If your child refuses to wear glasses, you may wonder what to do. It is not uncommon for parents to ask eye doctors, “How do I convince my child to wear glasses?” And, “Should I force my child to wear glasses?” Or even, "Will my child's eyesight get worse if he doesn't wear his prescription glasses?"

If you’ve tried different tips and tricks and your child still won’t wear glasses, it’s time to head back to the eye doctor. And it’s a good idea to choose an optical shop with experience working with children.

The eye doctor can make sure that your child has the correct prescription, that their glasses are comfortable and fit well, and that all their vision issues have been diagnosed.

READ NEXT: 5 ways to boost your child’s confidence with new glasses

Frequently asked question: how will I ever get my child to wear glasses? For Little Eyes. December 2013.

Glasses for children. American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. March 2020.

Children’s glasses: information for parents and carers. Oxford University Hospitals. March 2020.

The 3 best behavior charts for kids of all ages. Parents. May 2020.

Collected wisdom. For Little Eyes. Accessed November 2021.

Atropine to help your child adjust to glasses. University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Accessed November 2021.

Glasses fitting for children. Children’s Eye Foundation of AAPOS. March 2020.

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