My son has just turned 4. He was operated on when he was 2 for squint eyes (strabismus) and his eyes are much better but not perfect. He has to wear glasses to prevent further damage.

He is now very self-conscious about the glasses and friends make comments on them - not nasty, but just out of curiosity. He is fine wearing them, but as soon as it's noticed he wants to remove them, so basically never before other people than family.

I don't want to tell him he has squint eyes, so as not to damage his self esteem, but I need to explain why it is important to wear them. I just don't know what to say. Please help with tips. I don't want him to feel there is something wrong with him.

  • How about A rule like glasses are clothing. If you keep on your shirt you keep on your glasses. Getting dressed means including glasses. It sidesteps the important part but makes it normal and expect instead.
    – Batavia
    Oct 21, 2017 at 21:52
  • Does he see OK without the glasses (e.g., no nearsightedness etc.)?
    – Acire
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:40

3 Answers 3


Since he's too young for serious explanations, you can just let him know that his eyes are a little more sensitive than those of his friends. Like he needs to wear a sweater in winter, raincoat in summer and earplugs when in a concert, his eyes also need something for their protection and that's what glasses are for. Also, let him know that a few of his friends may also start wearing them if their eyes are found to be sensitive.

My daughter was one of the first in her class to get glasses. We let her select her own frame and then she got to stick whatever cartoon character she wanted on the cover to show her friends. My husband has glasses too so we encouraged her by saying "Now you look just like a grown up" - that made her happy. Gradually, she got used to it and within an year, few other classmates started wearing glasses so she was no longer that self conscious.


I have a son who needs glasses for myopia and another who sees perfectly without them. They of course comment on the glasses, mainly because they limit somewhat his activities and require him extra care.

My argument when one or the other asks me why he has to wear glasses (as I do) is simply that one sees better with glasses, and the other without, inasmuch as one is better at running and another at swimming.

Basically, it boils down to the fact that having glasses is like putting a seatbelt for one. Another useful argument is that by wearing glasses he might even see better than the average Joe who apparently does not need them.


My son is going through the same situation (although he is five and just needs them for more typical reasons). He too does not want always wear his glasses.

What we tell him is

The doctor has given you an instruction to wear your glasses all the time.

This way, as the parent you do not have answer technical questions about your child's vision. Perhaps explain in bit more detail why we trust doctors and that their advice is to help us.

The main point you want to drive home will be that glasses are completely normal. Try pointing people you encounter every day that wear glasses. Maybe even pull up some pictures of characters he likes in shows or books.

As far as the friends or other children that he encounters at school or elsewhere, only a simple response is required. Something like

I have to wear glasses because they help me see better.

There is no need for a four year-old to try to (or have to) explain a complex medical condition to other children in his age group. I would doubt they would understand any of it to begin with.

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