My son is two years and a half. He has a squint, and he has to wear glasses or the squint might cause serious damage. He refuses to wear his glasses under any circumstances.

Unfortunately, even using a strap is not allowed for a child as he might strangle himself, but I highly doubt that it would make any difference if my son had one, as he keeps taking his glasses off few seconds after putting them on him.

We have to hold his hands tightly, and he still manages to get the glasses off. Even if we stop him, we can't keep holding his hands for more than few minutes for obvious reasons.

Is there any solution that I am not aware of? The only thing that I keep imagining is the existence of some medical goggles.

  • 1
    How "strong" are the glasses. When I first got mine it was "I'VE BEEN MISSING THIS MUCH DETAIL?!" and empirically they were better, are these lenses to help with lazy eye development, or of almost 0 power for a minor astigmatism say?
    – Alec Teal
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 10:03
  • See also this possible duplicate question: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/7717/…
    – DanBeale
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 10:12

5 Answers 5


It can be tricky! Remember the core principles of "reinforce good behaviour"; "see things from the child's POV"; and "distract from undesired behaviour".

Start with the glasses. Do they fit? are they comfortable? Do they hurt or irritate the child? Try asking the child why they don't want to wear them.

Find some characters or toys that wear glasses that your child likes. Or make glasses out of fimo for existing toys.

Ideally you want your child to realise that there is a benefit to the glasses - their vision improves. ("They will prevent harm in the future" is something that does not work for children.) So, put their glasses on and immediately start distracting them with fun activities. Each time the glasses come of just pop them back on and carry on with the fun. If there is resistance to the glasses going back on you ask if the child wants to keep on doing fun stuff, and when they say yes you tell them that they need to keep their glasses on.

Try using a sticker chart and a timer. Start with short times! 45 seconds, for example. Build up those times. So, if the child wears his glasses for the time limit you give copious praise, and a rewards, and say how well you think they'll do with the longer timer limits.

Make putting the glasses on part of the daily routine.
Also, make sure that removing the glasses does not become an "attention seeking"1 behaviour.

Make sure you lead by example - wear your own glasses (if you need them).

1: I hate this term but people know what I mean when I use it.

  • 19
    To expand on the last point, you can wear glasses even if you don't need them (reading glasses, or frames with no lenses) to model good behavior!
    – Acire
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 12:36
  • @Erica - that is a great idea!
    – DanBeale
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 12:50
  • 2
    Harry Potter!!! (2.5 may be too young to know, but if any friends or family members are fans, he may be aware)
    – user3143
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 19:29
  • Does he like to watch TV enough that it can be a positive force that overcomes the negative of wearing glasses? You might try turning off the TV if he is watching without glasses (use a remote, try not to make it obvious). Then tell him "oh no! The TV won't work any more if we aren't wearing our glasses." You could put on your glasses and say "It isn't working...you need to wear yours, too." It may take a while and a few tears but if he wants to watch TV badly enough he'll wear them. And TV is engaging enough to distract his attention from the glasses. Commented May 21, 2015 at 21:31
  • 3
    I began wearing glasses about that age. I still remember that because they hurt. A lot. I'd go stand in the corner so I could take them off without my parents seeing. It took a while for that not to be the case. Your son's not just taking them off to make your day difficult, he's had a system that worked for him his entire life, and you're forcing a new possibly painful (but better long-term) transition on him. I'd try giving him a reward for meeting goals of coping with the transition (TV time, favorite book, small piece of candy, etc) and acknowledging to him that it's hard.
    – McCann
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 13:58

One of my twins (3yo) needs to wear glasses, because his left eye is weaker than the right one; not correcting his sight could result in one of his eyes becoming lazy.

You can't force the child to wear them, and at that age you can't quite reason him into wearing them either: the only thing that will work is if the child makes the decision to wear them himself.

The optician gave us a neat trick for that - I don't know if it might be too late at that point (how long has it been?), but for posterity, here it is:

When the kid is watching his favorite TV show, approach him with the glasses and put them onto his nose. When he notices that he actually sees better with the glasses, you win.

Worked very well with my toddler. Now I just need to get him to stop throwing the darn glasses when he's angry, but that's another story ;-)

  • Some? (many?) modern glasses are made of plastic and not actual glass, so may be less fragile. Talk to the optometrist
    – user3143
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 19:30
  • 3
    @user3143 it's plastic actually, and plastic can still scratch - and the problem isn't breaking the glasses (it's under a child-proof anything-goes warranty!), but the act of throwing them ;-) Commented May 21, 2015 at 19:32
  • looking at my own scratched up glasses hmm....
    – user3143
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 19:35

Getting toddlers to keep their glasses on

Welcome to the world of toddler glasses! It's tough to get a toddler used to wearing their glasses all the time, but be patient. Over time they will eventually accept them, and may soon start asking for them.

Here are two articles on the subject, along with a few tips from them:



First, keep in mind that like most new experiences, fighting with your toddler isn't going to be productive. Similar to toilet training, or getting them to eat unfamiliar foods, you need to be loving, consistent, and non-confrontational. From the first article note that over half the children given glasses at this age learn to keep them on in a week - but over 10% take longer than a month. So while there's hope that it'll be a quick transition, don't become discouraged if it takes a month or more.

At this stage of life it may be easier to focus on frequent rewards for wearing the glasses than on punishments or consequences for taking them off.

Feel free to set them aside when your toddler becomes upset - the medical benefit will be gained from wearing them often, but leaving them off for periods of time won't be a problem. Just focus on getting them to wear the glasses as much as you can, and don't sweat it when they don't. Involve them in some other activity, and put them on while they are distracted, for instance. If they are bored, they know one sure way to get your attention is to remove the glasses and throw them around, so keep them active.

From the second article here is a list of good ideas:

  • Start by having your child wear glasses for short periods during enjoyable activities, when your child will be having so much fun that he or she will forget about them. Use the glasses as part of reward times, such as when your child is watching his or her favorite video.
  • Choose a time when your child is rested and in a good mood to start requiring the glasses.
  • If your child takes his or her glasses off, be sure you put them back on in a firm but loving manner.
  • If your child learns that he or she has control over wearing the glasses, you may lose the battle. You do not want taking off the glasses to be an attention-getting tool.
  • Check the fit of the glasses. Stop by the optical shop if the frame loosens. As the child grows, the glasses may become tight or uncomfortable. Glasses that are poorly fitted can easily slip and slide down, and they then become useless.
  • Be positive. Parents’ and grandparents’ attitude can influence a child more than you think. Make glasses "cool" for your child: point out pictures of sports stars or entertainers who wear glasses. For very young children, "being just like mommy or nana" may be what counts.
  • Compliment your child for remembering to wear his or her glasses
  • Give your child some say in selecting the frame. Select three or four different frames that are acceptable to you, and then let the child pick the one he or she likes best.
  • Make the glasses a part of the child's daily routine. Put them on in the morning as your child is getting dressed and remove them before naps and bedtime. Enlist the teachers’ help by telling them your child's schedule for wearing glasses.

My daughter started wearing glasses at 14 months old, and I remember the struggle all too well. It did take a couple of weeks for her to reliably wear her glasses, she's 8 now and rocks her glasses, so fear not, it will happen.

One question is whether he's nearsighted or farsighted. At that age, most kids in glasses wear them for excessive farsightedness. Unfortunately, kids are extremely good at accommodating and adapting to farsightedness. If that's the case, he's going to need to learn to relax his eyes and let the glasses focus for him, so you can't always rely on the glasses making it easier to see.

I wrote up a guide to getting your child to wear glasses a year or so ago (http://littlefoureyes.com/2013/12/11/frequently-asked-question-how-will-i-ever-get-my-child-to-wear-glasses/), the basics are:

  1. Stay positive. You don't need to make a big deal about the glasses, but you do need to make sure that there's a positive association with them. For some kids, making a big deal out of the glasses just calls attention to them and stresses out the parents. You know your kid, so do what works for him. In any case, though, make sure you have a smile on your face when you put his glasses on him. Yes, even if it's the 300th time that day that you've put them back on (believe me, I've been there), have a smile. If he throws a fit, let him leave the glasses off for a couple of minutes until he calms down and then try again.
  2. Stay consistent. It might well be the 301st time his glasses have come off that day, but put them back on. Make consistent rules - like glasses are always on except naps and baths and bedtime and stick to it. We did take her glasses off in the car for the first few months, because she'd get bored and her glasses were the nearest interesting thing to play with. A lot of other parents I've talked with have the same problem, so that's worth considering.
  3. and speaking of boredom...Distractions! You know your son, you know what distracts him, so use that. As soon as his glasses go on, find something to distract him with. Some parents have found that taking your kid outside is more distracting, and works better when you get started. If there's a show he loves or a toy he plays with really intensely, have it on hand when you put the glasses on.

Oh, and if he's really, really resisting, then make sure that his glasses fit correctly and are adjusted correctly, and make sure that the prescription is the right one (mistakes happen).

Good luck! It's super frustrating, I know!


Introduce him to a super hero who wears them... Clark Kent, Cyclops maybe? Associate them with his new special power of seeing far from his special gear like they use.


  • 2
    I love the idea to use a super hero as inspiration. It may be harder for a toddler (2 years old) to appreciate than an older child (3-4 years old). But the more role models, the better!
    – Acire
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 13:52
  • I love the idea, but could you maybe elaborate on the link you post a little bit? Commented May 22, 2015 at 13:55
  • 1
    The link is a story about a mother who wrote to Marvel Comics for help because her son had started refusing to wear a hearing aid. His reasoning was super heroes don't wear hearing aids. In this case Marvel custom designed a super hero just for him with a blue hearing aid just like his. However, the idea is still one that might work. Associate the glasses as a similarity to these role models or any of the boys favorite characters with glasses.
    – RRyan
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 14:09
  • Clark Kent is an example of a guy who is pretty dorky until he takes off his glasses and becomes incredible... Commented May 25, 2015 at 9:34

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