What Should You Do if You Think Your Child Has Vision Problems?

As a parent, your primary goal is to ensure that your kids have the assistance and guidance they need to become successful, independent adults. You’re driven to look after them, keep them safe and treat any problems that may crop up along the way. Treating the occasional flu or a bout with chicken pox is one thing, but how do you treat a problem if you’re not quite sure that it exists? One of the more difficult issues for parents to accurately identify, especially in very young children, is problems with vision. Unless your child is actively squinting when she tries to focus on an object or is holding a book too close to her face for comfort, you may not be able to spot the signs of vision problems if you’re not well-versed in the symptoms. Knowing what to do in terms of treatment, prevention and correction isn’t always easy, but there are a few things you can keep in mind to make the journey a bit less complicated.

Know the Symptoms

Classic symptoms of vision issues, like squinting and sitting too close to the television, are red flags for parents, but what many don’t realize is that there are a host of other, subtler signals that can indicate a struggle to see clearly. For newborns, it’s even more difficult to discern any problems because their eyes are not fully developed. In older infants, however, the warning signs can be easier to spot. Irregular movement, one eye that stays stationary while the other moves normally, one eye that’s consistently closed or the failure of mobiles, lights or movement to catch her attention can be cause for concern and should be discussed with her pediatrician at the next well child exam. Toddlers and older babies may bump into furniture or walls when they’re crawling or learning to walk, rub their eyes frequently when they’re not sleepy, cover one eye to see things better and lose their balance when standing from a seated position.

Schedule an Appointment with an Eye Doctor

Around preschool age, even if your child is not exhibiting any signs of vision problems or difficulty seeing, it’s wise to make an appointment with an eye doctor. Even if he can’t yet read, there are still vision tests that can be performed on a young child that are capable of diagnosing many common sight problems. Rather than trying to diagnose a vision problem yourself, it’s important that you make arrangements for your child to visit the eye doctor for a check-up and full exam.

Prepare Her for Glasses

If you suspect that your child is having trouble with her vision, it may be a good idea to start talking about what glasses are used for, how they help people who have trouble seeing and how important they are to people whose sight is compromised. Your child may leave her first ophthalmologist’s appointment with nothing more than a sticker and a pat on the back, but she may leave with a brand new pair of glasses that she’s less than thrilled about. If you have reason to suspect that your child might be suffering from some vision issues, the best course of action is to ensure that she’s prepared for the possibility of corrective measures.

Rethink Harsh Punishments

Kids who can’t see clearly at school may suffer a drop in academic performance, become less active participants in the classroom and show a negative change on their next report card. Because a good education is so important, many parents are quick to treat academic neglect with a zero-tolerance policy, but it’s best to rethink things if your child is also showing other signs of having trouble seeing. The last thing you want to do is punish a child who’s already struggling for doing badly in school. Before flying off the handle when kids act out in school or return home with bad grades, stop to consider whether or not having difficulty seeing could be the motivating factor behind these behaviors.

Stress Compliance

Your child may not be eager to wear her new glasses, but failure to do so can lead to worsening vision problems down the road. After the diagnosis comes and corrective steps are taken to manage a vision problem, it is your job to ensure that compliance with ophthalmologists’ and pediatricians’ orders continues at home. Work with your child, his eye doctors and his teachers to find a plan of action that stresses cooperation and provides a supportive environment for your youngster.

5 Ways to Deal with Empty Nest When the Kids Go to School

By Marcia Hall

With the kids back in school during the days, stay at home moms and nannies of school aged children may find that they suddenly have lots of time on their hands.  It’s not unusual for the excitement of the first day of school to quickly give way to feelings of loneliness.  To alleviate that loneliness, here are five things you can do now that the kids are out of the house for several hours.

  • Organize the house – Summertime is full of fun vacations and busy activities.  It is not a great time to clean and organize your house.  But, now that you have more time on your hands, you can. Don’t overdo yourself though.  Take just one or two rooms a week and pull things out of the closets, clean under the beds and couches and go through the boxes of stuff you have stored away.  Rotate and organize the clothes.  Start a box of items that will be donated, or even plan a fall rummage sale to make a little extra money for the holidays that will be here before you know it.  Get rid of the things you don’t need or use any more and just purge.  Turn spring cleaning into autumn cleaning.
  • Catch up with friends – Busy moms don’t get a lot of time to have fun with friends during the hot summer months.  Now that the kids are back in school it can be a great time to do so.  If you have friends who work during the day, take them out to lunch near their office or bring lunch to them.  This can also be a great time to make some new friends or get to know the acquaintances you have been meaning to spend more time with.  Invest in the relationships that make you happy.
  • Find a new hobby – Think about all the ideas you have of projects you wanted to accomplish but haven’t had the time to pursue.  Now is the time. Take a look at your Pinterest boards and see what sparks your imagination.  Go to your local craft store and pick out items and projects that look like fun.  Finish some of those projects that you have put on hold or take back up the crafts that you used to love.  Work on your children’s baby books or scrapbooks.  Find something that sparks your interests.
  • Set goals to get you healthy – This is the best time to start a new exercise routine or cut back on the foods you have been indulging in over the summer months.  The weather is getting a little cooler and being outside is wonderful.  Take a few long walks or runs.  Get to the gym more often.  Make a goal to do one thing for the health of your body every day.
  • Catch up on some rest and relaxation time – There is no shame in indulging in some you time.  Take advantage of the quiet house and read a book that you have been wanting to read or take a nap after the kids are on the bus.  You work hard and deserve some R&R.

Whatever way you end up spending your extra time now that the kids are back in school, know that it will help your children.  When you are able to spend time on the projects and activities that bring you joy, the whole family will be healthier and happier.

How to Keep Your Marriage Exciting After Having Kids

After having children, your wallet, time and patience all may take a bit of a hit, but your marriage should never follow suit. Kids are great, but the process of caring for them sometimes means that it is easy to subconsciously put your marriage on the back burner. While making your children’s needs a priority is understandable, shunning those of your marriage is not, and it could be detrimental in the long run. When your mate feels ignored or held responsible for faults related to the children, bitterness and negativity can ensue, resulting in the worst-case scenario of irreparable damage and even divorce. Fortunately, there are plenty of methods to relieve these natural tendencies and keep your marriage as flourishing and joyful as it was pre-kids.

Texting a Love Note, Catching a Flick

Staying in for the night doesn’t have to mean sacrificing a date. While some couples admit to texting throughout the day to keep the romance alive, others opt for in-home dates, like movie nights, after the kids go to bed. The children and their commitments to soccer and piano lessons may tie up your dinnertime routine, but there is much to be said for the time spent together once the children have fallen asleep. Go the extra mile by making an effort to surprise or impress your mate with ideas like bringing home a special dessert to share. Whether opting to light candles for your dinner or committing to spending at least just one weeknight staying “up late” to watch a favorite show on the couch, the possibilities for alone time are endless if given routine attention and effort.

Find a Babysitter or Nanny You Trust

When you finally get used to the idea that there is no fault in going out for the night as a couple, the satisfaction of doing so will be made easier if you are able to find a trustworthy and reliable babysitter. There is much to be said for hiring a dependable caregiver that will relieve concerns, and having someone you trust allows you to focus on your date. If needed, you could even get a close family member or friend to sit one weekend night.

Stop Making Excuses

Perhaps most applicable, one of the easiest choices for which many are guilty is allowing obstacles to impact intentions. Too often excuses — such as the inability to find a babysitter or exhaustion brought on by work or life — are accepted as good enough reasons to not follow through with plans made with your mate. Some parents even guilt themselves into believing that the children come first and dates can wait, but doing so actually means accepting that your marriage can wait, and in the end, it can’t. If you don’t regularly tend to your marriage, you’ll notice it start to wither, and your children will, too, no matter how much you may try to hide it. Fighting, separation and divorce are all situations that are distracting, confusing and frustrating, and can be detrimental to the potential your children have throughout their development.