Words Matter: How to Talk to Young Kids Who Wear Eye Patches

Wearing an eye patch can be a challenging experience for young kids, especially when it's for a medical condition like Amblyopia or Strabismus. As parents or caregivers, we have a responsibility to ensure that our words and actions support our kids during this time. Unfortunately, sometimes our well-intentioned words can have unintended consequences, leaving our kids feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable.

Here are a few things that you should avoid saying to young kids who wear eye patches:
  • "You look funny": It's understandable to be surprised by the appearance of an eye patch, but using the word "funny" can be hurtful to a child. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of the eye patch, such as how cool or colorful it looks.
  • "Can you see anything?": This question may seem innocent enough, but it can be stressful for a child to constantly feel like they need to prove their vision. Instead, ask them about their day or what they've been up to, focusing on things that are not related to their eye patch.
  • "You're brave for wearing that": While the intention behind this statement is positive, it can also imply that there's something scary or difficult about wearing an eye patch. Instead, focus on how proud you are of your child for taking care of their eyes and being responsible.
  • "Don't worry, you'll get better soon": This statement can put unnecessary pressure on a child to "get better," which may not be possible for some eye conditions. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of wearing an eye patch, such as how it can improve their vision over time.
  • "I'm sorry you have to wear that": While it's natural to feel empathy for a child who is going through a medical condition, saying "I'm sorry" can make them feel like something is wrong with them. Instead, focus on how you're there to support them and that you're proud of them for taking care of their eyes.
In conclusion, wearing an eye patch can be a challenging experience for young kids, and it's important to be mindful of our words and actions. By avoiding these common statements, we can create a supportive and positive environment for our kids, helping them feel confident and comfortable during this time. Remember, words matter, so let's choose them wisely.
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