As your child approaches six months of age, it's time to think about scheduling him or her to have an eye exam. This initial appointment can indicate the early presence of any vision issues. You shouldn't have to schedule another eye exam for your child until he or she is three years of age, at which point you can talk to the child about the upcoming experience and strive to help him or her feel as comfortable as possible. Some children can act fussy at medical appointments, but there are a number of simple strategies that you can rely on to help this crucial checkup go as smoothly as possible. Here are some strategies.
Emphasize The Fun Elements
If you focus on talking about the fun parts of an eye exam, your child will often get excited about visiting the eye care clinic. For kids, the best part of the exam is often the ability to read the vision chart while looking through the machine that holds different lenses. You can describe this machine saying that it is held in front of the child's eyes like a mask that a jet pilot, astronaut, or deep-sea diver might wear. Many children will find this idea fun and won't be fussy when the machine is in place.
Find Books That Talk About Eye Exams
Browse through your local library branch and see if you can find books for children about visiting the eye doctor. Turning to books to help children learn about upcoming experiences can be highly helpful. Such books will often tell the story of a young character who might be anxious about having an eye exam, but soon finds that it's a fun experience and one that is important for his or her overall health. Include this book in your reading time with your child, and it will gently reinforce the message that there's nothing to worry about.
Listen To His Or Her Concerns
If your child is verbalizing some concerns about the upcoming eye exam, don't just dismiss them. Instead, listen to what the child has to say and provide some answers the best you can. You can use your own experience with eye exams to help. If there's a question for which you don't have the answer, pledge to write it down and ask the eye care professional upon arriving for the exam. These experts are experienced in dealing with children who may be a little anxious and will help to get your child's mind at ease before the eye exam begins.