Around the time my son was seven months old, we took him for a hike in the snow, and the sun came blazing out. I realized at that moment that we needed to book it back to the car, because although he was shaded by his carrier, the sun was so bright that it was difficult to see without sunglasses.
So I got home, did some research, and bought him a pair. I was so excited when they arrived, they were going to be so cute! But to my dismay, he pulled them off immediately. I worried that it would limit how often we could go on stroller walks, and prevent us from going outside midday. It would be so limiting if he refused to wear them forever!
Thankfully a few experiments later, he’ll actually wear them now. The following tips are exactly how we got our baby to wear his sunglasses:
1. Get a Strap
My first mistake was not getting a strap to fasten the sunglasses (these are the ones I bought) to my son’s head. The strap I got is adjustable, and reminds me a bit of a bra strap. It’s cloth with rubber holders on the sides, so it’s not too rigid, and seemed to me like it would be comfortable. Some sunglasses come with a strap already fastened to them and these are even polarized!
The key is to make it tight enough that it stays on, but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable. If it’s leaving a little marks on your baby, it’s too tight. If they can pull them off with ease, it’s too loose.
2. Put Them On Outside
The first time I put sunglasses on my son, we were inside and had not yet gone out for our walk. He pulled them off immediately, and I quickly gleaned that I needed to show him the reason why we wear them – it’s bright, and they help keep us comfortable!
Now I pull the stroller shade back and make sure he experiences how bright it is outside — only momentarily — before putting on the sunglasses.
This has probably been the biggest help. I genuinely think that he understands it’s bright, they are providing protection, and I make sure to do the following things as well.
3. Wear Your Sunglasses, Too
I make sure that he sees me also wearing my sunglasses. I’ll make it a big point to put mine on and then put his on.
Sometimes I even make a little game of peekaboo with mine, so he can see me being playful with them. So far this has not backfired with him trying to do the same, but I will probably not continuing into his toddler years!
Babies and kids his age are always wanting to emulate their parents. So by him seeing that we wear our glasses, he gets to be a cool big boy, too.
4. Gently Reapply
The first time that we went on a walk with the sunglasses (and the all-important strap), my baby was pulling them down constantly. I gently reapplied them over and over, making sure that I was giving him lots of praise for wearing them.
If he pulled them off again, I would put on the stroller break, walk around, and gently put them back on. I had to do it over and over and over at first, but he has slowly but surely accepted them and pulls them down far less frequently now.
It helps tremendously that our stroller, the Guava Roam, which I love, has a little peekaboo flap at the top. This is a function I love having that a surprisingly low amount of strollers have.
Read Next: The Stroller We Use Daily
It folds up small, has all-terrain tires, and handles like a dream
5. Praise, Praise, Praise!
Each time he gets the sunglasses on, whether it’s me putting it on at the beginning of the walk, or having to put them on again if he pulls them off, I praise or say ‘yay!’ when they go on his face.
I’m also careful not to get too frustrated if he pulls them off. I can understand that it’s probably not fun having something strapped to one’s face for the first time, especially considering how much kids his age hate things being on their face in general. So I just try to make it a very lighthearted experience.
6. Pair with a Sun Hat or Shade
Although I pull the shade back and have him in full sun, to put the sunglasses on, once they’re on immediately put the stroller shade back out. If we are out and about and not in a stroller, and make sure that he has his son hat on. This will help at least a little bit if he pulls the sunglasses off, but it doesn’t make what he is looking at any less bright, so I try to make sure that we have both on bright days.
If you’re not having luck, just try try again. If I’ve learned anything from this parenthood journey, it’s that every kid is going to be different, but often with a little persistence and gentle reassurance, we can convince our little ones to do what is good for them.
Now if only I could convince him not to pull the leaves off my plants. That’s a project for another day.
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