My Toddler Needs Glasses! What Do I Do?

The following is a guest post from my dear friend, Danielle Jerz. She is an attorney, wife, and a mom of two children, ages four and 1.

This post is a great guide on how to introduce our kids to new experiences in a fun and engaging way!

Does my child really need glasses?

My 3-year-old, DJ, needed glasses. He’d failed an eye test (common tests for toddlers include retinoscopy or Spot Vision Testing Camera) at his 12-month appointment, and a pediatric ophthalmologist suggested we check again 2 years later to see if his eye issues would self-correct. 

By 3, DJ was playing t-ball and soccer, he did not hold books too closely, he did not frequently rub his eyes, and he enjoyed learning in preschool. He never complained of difficulty seeing or of headaches, and he passed his visual acuity eye chart test. 

So, when we returned to the pediatric ophthalmologist shortly after his 3rd birthday, it came as a surprise to us that his vision issues had not, in fact, improved and that he needed glasses. His doctor told us that if he wore eyewear now, he might not need to in the future. So, we decided to give it a try. 

Our Concerns

Neither my husband nor I wear glasses, so we were entirely clueless about where to start. As a parent, a million thoughts went through my head: Will he wear the glasses? What will be the consequences if he refuses? Will he be embarrassed? Would he understand why he needed glasses? Will he be teased? The last question was of real concern since most of us know how upsetting childhood taunts can be. 

So, I started researching where many people start these days – GOOGLE. While there was plenty of information out there about children wearing glasses, most of what I could find was geared towards older, school-age children. But my child was a toddler or a young preschooler, with challenges and needs quite different than a child 3 or 4 times his age (a 9- or 12-year-old). 

How I Got my 3-Year-Old to Wear Glasses

I explained to DJ why he needed glasses. He seemed to understand, but when I asked him if glasses were cool, he matter-of-factly replied “no.” So, I slowly started to set the stage for DJ and his new glasses. Before he was even fitted for glasses, I tried to point out every adult friend, relative, stranger, cartoon character, or person in a television commercial who was wearing glasses. 

I would turn to DJ and enthusiastically say look: Aunt Angela is wearing glasses. Doesn’t she look cool? Or, look at the little boy on television with glasses. I think his glasses look so sharp. Or, (your cousin) McKenzi wears glasses, do you think they look really nice? And slowly but surely, his adamant “no’s!” became emphatic “yeah’s!” Glasses were cool!

My husband and I even ordered costume glasses to wear around the house, so they wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary. We wouldn’t announce that we were going to wear them. We would just put them on and wait to see if DJ even noticed. Surprisingly, he may have only asked about mom’s and dad’s “glasses” on one or 2 occasions. 

How We Found the Glasses

Because we knew next to nothing about purchasing eyewear, we decided to find an eyeglass store that carried a large variety of toddler-sized glasses. I didn’t know this at the time, but most eyeglass stores that you may find in a mall or big box retailer don’t carry preschool size glasses. You really need to go to a specialty retailer, so we chose My Eye Doctor. 

I knew I wanted something for DJ that would survive all the fun things that boisterous 3-year-old boys do, so I researched brands with light, flexible, and kid-friendly frames. I also wanted durable frames because I had a feeling DJ’s one-year old little sister might get ahold of them a time or 2, and I didn’t want her to accidently break them. 

At our appointment, the sales associate showed us some of the popular children’s glasses. I told DJ that he could pick out the color, but I would pick out the frame. I figured he might not be equipped to tell what styles fit well with his slender face, prominent chin, and large brown eyes, but he could have the freedom to pick the color since he would be the one wearing them every day. 

Perfect Match

DJ tried on and rejected several that I liked, but it was surprisingly easily to reach an agreement on color and shape. His Zoobug glasses came in a delightful blue – DJ’s favorite color. They have polycarbonate lenses and a scratch resistant coating and because they are a single rubber piece with no joints or parts to break, they are flexible enough to withstand all manner of contortions attempted by DJ’s little sister. 

The glasses came with a detachable headband and sliding earlocks to help them stay on. He could have chosen both, one, or none of them to use. DJ uses the earlocks that fit snuggly behind his ears and prevent the glasses from slipping forward. 

These are the glasses we chose.

Informing the School

I talked to DJ’s preschool teacher, Ms. Sherry, and informed her that he would start wearing glasses. I explained that we would have him wear them only at home for 2 or 3 days and then he would wear them to school. 

Ms. Sherry is a great teacher and was very receptive. She stated that she would help him keep his glasses clean and remind him to put them on if he took them off. She also liked my ideas about introducing the glasses to the class. 

Time to Party

When speaking with Ms. Sherry, I’d thought, what would be a good way to “show off” DJ’s glasses and answer any questions other students might naturally have about why he was wearing them. I know! We would have a GLASSES PARTY. The day DJ started wearing his glasses, I showed up to the preschool, glasses in hand, and armed with books about glasses, cupcakes topped with a little pair of glasses (who doesn’t love cupcakes??), and a pair of glasses for everyone! 

We read Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg and Philomena’s New Glasses by Brenna Maloney. To provide everyone with a fun pair of glasses, I’d simply gone to the closest dollar store and purchased enough sunglasses for each of DJ’s classmates and popped out the dark lenses. Voila! An affordable pair of glasses for every child! 

Success!

Much to my delight, the party was a big hit. The children were thrilled to wear their glasses. One of DJ’s classmates, Kyser, asked me if I’d brought him a case for his glasses so he could put them away. I apologized and told him that I had not, but to ask his parents. Sure enough, that evening, Kyser asked his parents for a glasses case and not only that, he wore the glasses to school the next day and for the next several weeks. 

In fact, Ms. Sherry, DJ’s teacher, reported that several of the children wore their party glasses (and still do) for several days after the party, and some even asked their parents if they could get real glasses (sorry parents!) because it was so cool. 

I realized that all my worry about teasing was just that – my own. I came to realize that my concerns were for naught and at that age group (3-4), glasses were cool! They love to read books and are curious to hear stories about new and different things and what makes everyone special and unique. 

Glasses themed party at preschool.

Our Life Now

DJ is now 4 years old and dutifully wears his glasses daily. At preschool, he takes them off when it’s time for recess and nap but otherwise wears them without protest. In fact, not long after he started wearing them, my husband realized he’d forgotten them at home after taking DJ to preschool. DJ immediately had a bit of a fit (“I can’t SEEEE!”) until Dad explained that he would go home to get the glasses, and all was well. 

Now his glasses are a part of his daily routine. He gets to school, puts his belongings away, washes his hands, and puts on his glasses. Like clockwork! We ask him about his glasses occasionally just to make sure they are still fitting and working for him. Santa even brought him a special case with his favorite superhero on it – Batman! 

Try these Steps for (Almost) Painlessly Getting your Toddler or Preschooler to wear glasses:

  1. Prepare your preschooler for wearing glasses. Explain why they need glasses. Don’t assume that they won’t understand. 
  2. Don’t share or show your concerns, fears, or insecurities with your toddler. I’ve learned from this experience that you may be worried for no reason. Even if you got glasses as an older, school-aged child, your toddler will likely have a different experience than you did.
  3. Introduce them to fictional characters who wear glasses. There is children’s programming featuring characters wearing glasses or that have episodes about getting glasses. For example…
    • One of the main characters on the show “Little Einsteins,” Leo, wears glasses. 
    • Arthur from the self-titled cartoon wears glasses.
    • In an episode of “Sid the Science Kid” (season 1, episode 13), Sid explores his sense of vision by trying on his grandma’s glasses. 
    • Clark Kent (AKA Superman) wears glasses.
  4. Read books such as:
  5. Talk about glasses and how they can help people see more clearly and how we can appreciate other’s differences.
  6. Research brands such as Tomato Glasses, Zoobug, and Solo Bambini for the look, affordability, and durability you think is best for your toddler/preschooler. 
  7. Allow your toddler/preschooler to be involved in the process of selecting his/her glasses. 
    • Does he/she have a favorite color? Toddler glasses often have multiple color options for frames, so ask if the styles you are considering come in different frame colors.
    • Let them pick out a case with a favorite character on it. Their glasses are special, so they deserve a special holder. 
      • We found DJ’s case on Amazon. 
      • Or take the (usually plain and simple) case provided by the eyewear retailer and decorate it! 
      • Allow your toddler/preschooler to color it with permanent markers or stickers to make it his/her own.
  8. Lay some ground rules: 
    • At the beginning, expecting your toddler to wear his/her glasses all day right away may be an unreasonable expectation and lead to needless tantrums and a battle of wills. 
    • In fact, your child may become averse to wearing the glasses at all! DJ’s ophthalmologist told us that often, toddlers refuse to wear them, and parents put the glasses away and try again in a year or 2. 
    • Of course, that is always an option, but I think there are other ways to get them to wear their cool specs!  I believe that until your toddler/preschooler is accustomed to them, you should set up reasonable expectations of wherewhen, and how oftenthey should wear their glasses. 
    • Questions to ask yourself?
      • Do you want your child to wear the glasses at home only? While at preschool or daycare? Only on the weekends? When they are permitted screen time? 
    • This trial period doesn’t have to last weeks or months. 
    • Slowly incorporate more time and encourage them to wear their glasses more often. 

You May Surprised

You might be pleasantly surprised to find that your toddler/preschooler is very receptive to your slow and steady encouragement to wear their glasses more often, or they may even ask you to wear them more frequently once they see how beneficial they are! DJ wore his glasses at home only during screen time and marveled at how his favorite cartoon character, Blaze from “Blaze and the Monster Machines,” looked. He did that for 3 days and then wore them to school with no complaints!

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4 Simple Financial Literacy Games/Activities for Kids

April is financial literacy month. I wanted to start the month off by giving you fun and simple financial literacy activities to do with young children.

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad said  when you are an adult your report card is your credit score. This is one reason why teaching kids financial literacy is so important. Once a child becomes an adult, handling money becomes inevitable. So, let’s strive to build an early foundation for our children!

Let’s get started with our activities!

Money Recognition

The value of money and how to count it is a basic skill every child should learn. The activities below will teach money recognition in a fun way.

  1. The first step in money recognition is for kids to hold and interact with money.
  2. Have your child put money in a piggy bank.
  3. Another activity is for the child to sort money by pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters, etc.
    • Help your child learn the difference in colors and sizes.
  4. After your child has mastered this, then teach them the monetary value of each coin by doing the following.
    • Repeat step 3 by having the child sort coins, then make a COLORFUL SIGNS with the value of money.
    • Create a sign for each coin and place it near each type of coin. The signs should read the following…
      • Pennies = 1¢
      • Nickles = 5¢
      • Dimes = 10¢
      • Quarters = 25¢
  5. Review the values frequently.
  6. Read books about the value of money such as…
  7. Watch the value of money videos on YouTube.
  8. Then move on to the next activity, Ice Cream Store.
Sorting money




Using a money funnel to sort money


Putting money in coin wrappers.

Ice Cream Store

This is a great activity to reinforce the value of money. It also introduces your child to entrepreneurship.

  1. Create ice cream by using the following suggestions.
    • Make ice cream with Playdoh. An example is shown in the picture below.
    • You may also put various colored balls in cups to make pretend play ice cream.
    • Another option is to purchase an ice cream set like the Melissa & Doug Scoop & Serve Ice Cream Counter.
  2. Create price tags and put them on the ice cream.
  3. Get pretend play money and give to the customer.
  4. Have your child play the ice cream store owner.
  5. As the customer, start by giving your child the correct amount of money for the ice cream.
  6. Once they become more advanced, give them more than enough money and help them determine the correct change to give you.
  7. This is also a great activity to teach your child about kindness and customer service.
My son giving me change after my ice cream purchase.
Ice Cream Cones made from PlayDoh

Monopoly

Introduce your child to investing in real estate with this game. Use this game to teach your child financial literacy vocabulary such as Assets, Liabilities, and Transaction.

  1. If you have a young child, start off with Monopoly Junior.
    • There are various versions of this game. The tips below can be used with most versions.
  2. Read the directions on how to play the game.
  3. Play the game with your child until they start to understand the concept and do the steps below.
  4. View the video below to learn how to teach your child the words, Assets, Liabilities, and Transactions by playing Monopoly.

Saving

This activity teaches kids how to work towards something they want or would like to purchase in the future.

  1. Explain to your child that saving money means putting money aside.
  2. Most kids like to save for something they want in the future.
  3. Is there a toy your child has been begging you for?
  4. Use this as an opportunity to teach them about saving.
  5. You may create a project around the house that allows them to earn money.
  6. It doesn’t have to be money, you many use a behavior chart so kids can earn awards at the end of the week.
  7. We use the Melissa & Doug Chore Chart.
    • If my son completes his chores at the end of the week, then he earns a privilege of his choice like going for a fun outing or watching television.

Financial Literacy can be taught to children in a fun way on any level.

Have fun with these activities!

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4 Simple & Fun Kitchen Science Experiments for Young Kids

Science is such a great subject because it allows you to mix substances and create  simple and fun experiments.

My son and I did four experiments using ingredients from the kitchen. We enjoyed the process of gathering tools, reading instructions, mixing substances, and observing the outcome.

Join us in doing the experiments below!

Want More Tips? Get 3 Tools Every Household Needs to Boost Children’s Academic Skills

Let’s Get Started!

Milk Rainbow

Ingredients:

  • Sturdy Paper Plate
  • Milk
  • Food coloring
  • Dish soap
  • Cotton Swab

Method:

  1. Pour enough milk onto the plate to cover the surface.
  2. Drop food coloring into the center of the milk.
  3. Dip a cotton swab into dish soap and then touch the tip into the center of the food coloring.
  4. Watch what happens.
  5. You should see the colors move when the cotton swap touch the milk.

Why it Works?

  • The dish soap does not mix with the milk.
  • Instead, the dish soap floats on top and spreads.
  • As the dish soap spreads, it grabs the food coloring.
  • Soap attacks grease so its molecules go for the fat in the milk.
  • This causes movement and the colors to swirl around.
The yellow food coloring spreads in the milk and soap mixture.
The green food coloring is spreading in the milk and soap mixture.


The green circle is getting bigger.

 

Bubble Worms:

Ingredients:

  • Empty plastic water bottle
  • Scissors
  • An old sock
  • An aluminum / plastic container
  • Spoon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dish soap

Method:

  1. Use scissors to cut the bottom off the water bottle.
  2. Place the elastic part of the sock over the bottom of the water bottle.
  3. Mix the water and dish soap in a container with a spoon.
  4. Dip the sock end of the bottle into the soapy mixture.
  5. Blow on the mouth of the bottle to create a long bubble worm.
    • Adults and older child should blow on the mouth.
    • I let my son blow ONCE just to experience it.
    • Sometimes small children will inhale on the mouth of the bottle instead of blowing out.
    • Let young children grab the bubbles at the bottom as you are blowing the mouth of the bottle.

Why it Works?

  • Water and soap are the basic ingredients for bubbles.
  • Bubbles are formed because of the air in them.
  • The surface of the sock on the water bottle has tiny holes.
  • Each of the holes are acting as individual bubble blowers.
  • Each hole is taking a bit of air in a layer of soap.
  • This combines to create the Bubble Worm.
Bubbles Galore!
My son had so much fun with this experiment!

 

Corn Starch Slime:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Corn Starch
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • Bowl
  • Washable paint or food coloring (I prefer paint because it washes off easily).

Method:

  1. Dump corn starch in a bowl.
  2. Add water to the bowl
  3. Keep adding corn starch or water until it reaches the consistency you like.
  4. Add washable paint to mixture to make it colorful.

Why it Works?

  •  The grains of the cornstarch are NOT dissolved in the water.
  • The cornstarch grains are suspended and spread out in the water.
  • The cornstarch grains can hold its position in water when pressure is applied.
Creating the Cornstarch slime mixture!
Fun with Slime!

 

Sparkle Explosion:

Ingredients:

  • Vase or Cup
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Food Coloring
  • Glitter
  • Pan

Method:

  1. Place 2-3 Tablespoons of baking soda in the bottom of the vase or cup.
  2. Put the vase or cup in the pan.
  3. Add 6-7 drops of food coloring and 1-2 teaspoons of glitter
  4. Pour in the 1/2 cup of vinegar.
  5. Watch for the sparkles.

Why it Works?

  • Baking Soda is a base and Vinegar is an acid.
  • When Baking Soda and Vinegar mix, the hydrogen ions in the vinegar react with the sodium and bicarbonate ions in the baking soda.
  • This mix is the result of two new substances called carbonic acid and sodium acetate.
  • There is a second reaction called decomposition reaction.
  • Decomposition reaction is when carbonic acid is formed.
  • The carbonic acid is decompose into water and carbon dioxide gas which causes the bubbling action.
Mixing the Vinegar and Baking!
Colorful Explosion!

Happy Experimenting!

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