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Choosing the best frames for kids glasses

Child wearing glasses

When you purchase a new pair of glasses, you may prize style over substance, and maybe even price. But when it comes to buying your kids’ eyeglasses, the opposite should be true.

Children tend to be much harder on their possessions than adults, and the same definitely goes for glasses. When looking for the best glasses frames for your child, look for inexpensive and unbreakable glasses for kids (considering you'll likely have to replace them more often than your own).

Take these practical pointers for selecting the safest and most durable frames for your kids:

Superheroes wear glasses too

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First, get your children excited about wearing glasses by igniting their imagination. Tell them how they’ll gain the superpowers to play games and see the blackboard at school. 

Also remind them of cool characters in spectacles, like the Avengers’ Tony Stark, aka Ironman; Daredevil’s Matt Murdock; Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent; and of course, Harry Potter. 

IS YOUR CHILD READY TO EMBRACE HIS OR HER ALTER EGO WITH SOME NEW SPECS? Shop for kids' glasses at an optical store near you or an online eyewear retailer.

Kids glasses can be fun

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Turn glasses shopping into a game with multiple moves. You might play with virtual try-on tools found on many online eyeglasses sites.

Or if you'd prefer to shop in person, search for "kids eyeglasses near me," and take your kiddo on a scavenger hunt for the glasses with the most power! Your eye doctor can also help recommend the best frames after routine eye exams.

Depending on your budget (or your child's responsibility when it comes to caring for their things), you'll be able to peruse everything from children's designer glasses to cheap kids glasses.

Whichever you decide to go with, your child is more likely to take good care of their new eyewear if they're excited about it. You could even incorporate care and cleanliness of their new glasses into the game by reminding them how valuable their hero's glasses are and that they should be proud to keep theirs safe as well.

Focus on comfort

If frames are too heavy or pinch their noses, your offspring will likely treat them like some kids ditch bike helmets, dumping them as soon as you’re out of sight. So make sure your child's glasses are comfortable and well-fitted.

Your local optician or family eye doctor will be able to help you with any needed adjustments.

Check the fit

Fit matters. Unlike starlets, kids need to look through, not above or below, their lenses. Children's still-developing brains and eyes need to train eye muscles to align for focus and depth perception.

Ill-fitting glasses may throw off this alignment and could cause headaches, frustration and inadequate vision correction.

Be flexible

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Kids’ flexible glasses may have rubber frames that can be custom-fit. Often these are durable, inexpensive and less likely to fall off, making them great for sports. 

Plus, these unbreakable kids frames are safer for little-ones who tend to be more active and less steady on their feet.

Spring forward

Eyeglasses, especially for children, should be built to last. Spring for spring hinges, which flex outward and need fewer repairs.

Also ask for shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses or Trivex lenses with a scratch-resistant, UV-protective coating to go in your child's durable new frames, and you'll ensure they have kid-tough glasses! 

Or if your kiddos practically live outdoors, upgrade to polycarbonate photochromic lenses to block 100 percent of UV rays. Light-adaptive lenses cost more but allow you to bypass kid's prescription sunglasses, especially considering kids are most likely to lose or break them.

Hold them in place

For the younger child prone to ripping off accessories and the sporty types who never seem to stop running and bouncing on and off the field or court, you may need an adjustable elastic strap to hold their glasses in place.

Or look for side pieces that wrap around the ear, making them less likely to fall off.

Check your child's face shape

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Flatter your child’s face. Consider it easy math, with opposites not just attracting, but attractive. A round or wide face often looks best with square or rectangular frames, and a square chin merits round glasses.

Larger frames help balance an elongated visage, whereas small frames complement petite faces with delicate features.

SEE RELATED: Find the best glasses for your face shape

Get noticed – or not

Kids’ glasses should fit their personalities and passions. Some kids want to be noticed — others don’t. Talk to your child before you take them shopping and ask them what they think. You can encourage them and remind them that glasses are common and can be fun, but listen to their hesitation as well as their excitement.

Then help them make the right choice for them based on what you learn.

Go with the flow

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Don’t typecast your offspring ocularly. While you can go wild with little ones — avoid tunnel vision with older offspring. 

A bookish child may resist thick frames for fear of being branded a nerd. And some teens are just too cool for school and don’t want to be caught dead in "granny glasses." (Don’t bother telling them about John Lennon. They so don’t care.)

Little girls will outgrow their Barbie pink and Frozen Elsa blue phase (we pray). Most likely, they’ll also outgrow their frames long before they’ve moved on. (Sob.) 

Older kids might choose to mimic sports heroes like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s classic Wayfarers, LA Laker LeBron James’ in-your-face cobalt printed frames or U.S. Soccer champ Megan Rapinoe’s gold-metal or bold acrylic-rimmed glasses.

Steer the conversation

Don’t forget your ABCs: Kids will feel empowered and invested in the final pairs if you allow them to pick limited options that just happen to be affordable faves of yours. 

It’s kind of like saying “Would you like asparagus, broccoli or carrots?” — all good for you! Chocolate and Chanel are not on the menu (unless you just really want to invest in designer glasses for your kid — we're not here to judge). 

Get extra glasses

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Buy a backup pair and a one-year warranty against breakage and excess scratches. A two-year warranty is unnecessary, as small kids will most likely outgrow their frames in that time. 

LensCrafters, Target Optical, Walmart and other children's glasses retailers offer deals or subscriptions allowing you to get a specified number of pairs yearly.

If your child has astigmatism, as do more than one-fourth of 5- to 17-year-olds, you should factor the caliber of optometrist or ophthalmologist into the price you’re willing to pay per pair. 

READY TO TAKE YOUR KIDDO SHOPPING FOR GLASSES? Find an optical store near you.

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