Prep Your Toddler For A Positive Experience At Their 3-Year Eye Exam
While the American Optometric Association recommends having a child's eyes examined first at the age of 6 months, your toddler likely doesn't remember the experience. So, when it comes time for their 3-year eye exam, chances are it will feel like the first time for them which can result in feelings of doubt and discomfort about the idea. Here's what you can do to make sure that the experience a positive one:
Take a Tour Beforehand
An excellent way to ensure that your toddler is feels comfortable and safe during their eye exam is to take them on a tour of the optometrist's office before your scheduled appointment day. This will give your little one the opportunity to get a feel for the environment, to meet their doctor, and to gain an explanation about what they can expect when it' time to have their eyes examined. Schedule a consultation on a day when your optometrist doesn't have a full schedule so they have the time to personally meet with your toddler and explain the eye exam process to them.
Practice with Patience
Another effective way to prepare your toddler for a positive experience at their eye exam is to practice some of the exam steps at home together so they aren't foreign when they're done in the optometrist's office. Ask your optometrist for an outline of the exam steps and focus on the ones you can easily do at home. Spend a few minutes each evening during the days leading up to the exam practicing things like covering one eye at a time and reading off a homemade or purchased alphabet poster.
Make Appointment Day Fun
By taking the time to have some fun before and after the eye exam on appointment day, your toddler will remember the overall experience as a positive one and are likely to be more confident about their future exams. Start by having a picnic breakfast in the park so your little one can play and release some pent-up energy before having to sit still in the orthodontist's office. After the eye exam, head out for some ice cream or to watch a movie to ensure that the day ends on a positive note.
Offer Plenty of Choices
If your toddler ends up needing glasses, make sure they feel in control of the situation by giving them plenty of frame options to choose from. Narrow the list of options that your optometrist gives you down to 3 or 5 choices you think are appropriate for your little one, and let them make the final decision about what they will be wearing in public from here on out. Being able to choose their own frames should help boost their self-esteem and confidence while getting used to wearing their new glasses.
Utilizing these tips and tricks should help alleviate any doubt your toddler has about having their eyes examined and ensure that the experience is a positive one overall for everyone involved. For more information, talk to a professional like All About Eyes.