Make wearing eye patches more interesting
In most cases, sooner or later in the course of patch therapy, your child will find wearing eye patches a nuisance and will be reluctant to put it on. For therapy to be successful in the long term, it is very important that the child remains motivated and cooperative. As a parent, you can make a significant contribution to ensuring that your child accepts the therapy. Here we have some tips for you and your child to overcome this hurdle and make patching time as pleasant as possible.
Choose beautiful eye patch designs yourself
With the colorful, child-friendly ORTOPAD® designs, the eye patch can become a real gem. Let your child pick out the designs themselves, and each day they can choose their current favorite to wear. In this way, you actively involve your child in the patch therapy and give them their own sense of responsibility. Different designs for girls and boys bring variety and fun to your child’s eye patch therapy. After wearing them, the patches can be applied to Patching Reward Posters or put in a scrapbook. You can also create your own picture with your child to add patches to. This gives your child has a happy memory of their patch therapy, and a sense of accomplishment.
Confirm your child’s choice, for example “You really have a nice patch,” and respond positively to wearing it. Describe eye patch wearing as “cool / cool thing” or the like, even in front of your child’s friends. Include others in your child’s patch therapy (teachers, relatives, etc.) by asking them to give your child this positive confirmation as well. Praise and recognition will make your child feel more secure. You could also put a patch on your child’s favorite cuddly toy so that they don’t have to wear a patch all by themselves. Make your child feel like being able to wear the eye patch is something great.
Explain the need for patching
Explain to your child why it is important to wear the patch regularly. This enables them to better understand what the eye patch is good for. This works best when you explain it with ideas your child can relate to. For example, “If a football player has to train his legs to be able to kick well, you have to train your eyes to see well.” Your child can do more with this information than with the medical explanations from an ophthalmologist. Therefore try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. If you take your child seriously and explain the necessity of wearing patches, your child’s motivation will grow.
Set fixed times
Clear schedules simplify patch therapy. Together with your child, set specific times for wearing the patch. Always adhere to the instructions of the orthoptist or ophthalmologist. Create a weekly schedule as instructed by the ophthalmologist and orthoptist with fixed times and adhere to them as close as possible. You can also hand out this weekly schedule to other people involved (teachers, relatives, etc.) in order to ensure that it is followed. It becomes easier for the child when patching time, like brushing your teeth every day, has a permanent place in their daily life. The easiest way is to patch your child’s eye at times when their attention is focused on other things, such as playing with toys, at school or when playing video games.
Give time to adjust
Immediately after applying the patch, the child must first adjust to the change in their vision. From then on, the weaker eye takes over on its own. This is initially unfamiliar to the child. After a few minutes, your child should get used to the new sense of sight. To avoid demotivating your child, give them time to adjust to before starting any activity.
Distraction while patching
While your child is wearing the eye patch, you can distract them so they don’t focus too much on the restriction. Painting, crafts or reading promote the progress of therapy because the weaker eye is being used more. It is important that your child is active and does not allow the eye patch to slow them down. This will also help the time in which the eye is patched go by faster. Make it fun to wear!
Since the ultimate goal of wearing the patch, improved eyesight, is often intangible and not a real incentive for a child, it is advisable to offer a different type of reward. You can introduce a reward system for each week, or when the Patching Reward Poster is completed. You could offer a reward of candy, a visit to the zoo, go swimming, a new toy at the store, etc. As another option, the used eye patches can be applied to a card after wearing, and you could write small surprises on the back. After a certain period of time (i.e. 1 week) your child can draw a card. In this way, the child associates patch therapy with something positive.
Write in a diary
After wearing the eye patch, you can stick it in a diary. Your child can then write down or draw what they experienced with the eye patch. This enables them to process how it felt to wear the patch. It also encourages your child’s creativity. With the diary, your child always has a nice memory of eye patch therapy.
Eye patch as a fashion accessory
Organize a fashion show with your child where they can show off their eye patches. Your child could dress up as a soccer player, princess or cowboy. Take pictures of your child with the eye patch and create a beautiful photo album of fashion shows and patches. This allows your child to see for themselves how well the eye patches look, and your child will be more motivated.
Involve their classmates
“My son was so proud of his patch until he walked into his after school care and got asked what’s wrong with his eye, and another child yelled his eye fell out. He got really ashamed of his patch and didn’t want to wear it. We went to the costume store and got a pirate patch for each child and the teacher along with hot glue and gems from the dollar store. They all made patches together and talked about the importance of the patch and how we can all do it together to make it a fun activity to everyone! He is very excited to wear his patch now!” ~ submitted by Emily
If you have developed a few tricks yourself to motivate your child to wear patches, we would love to hear it. With your permission we can publish them here and thus support other parents. Contact us here.