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18 no-screen-time "Tips and Tricks" to make eye patch time easier

If you figure each activity takes 10 minutes of time give or take you have 3 hours of patch time right here, will it be easy? No. Will it be messy at times? Yes. Will some days go smoother than others? Yes.

Will you want to give up sometimes? Yes. Hang in there and do your best. The hardest part about this is that there aren’t a lot of parents who do it, it’s not like potty training where you can ask your best friends for tips and tricks. Even if you do find fellow moms and dads that have to patch, chances are their experiences are very different and depend greatly on their child's vision level. I hope this list helps you on your patch time journey.

Ella playing and wearing her eye patch. Dry beans bin with measuring cups, funnels, small toys to hide and find, etc
Ella playing with dry beans wearing an eye patch.

  • Read books

  • Smoothie pops (make a smoothie and freeze it in a popsicle mold)

  • Dry beans bin with measuring cups, funnels, small toys to hide and find, etc

  • Play-Doh with cookie cutters to make designs

  • Slime (play with it or make it)

  • Kinetic sand with toys

  • Water play activities can be done with a little warm water and in the tub, if it’s not warm outside

  • Helping cook: these tools are nice to have

    • Kid-friendly knife: Link

    • Learning tower: LInk

  • Circle time: instruments, singing, and books

  • Dancing to their favorite songs (Make a patch time playlist!)

  • Guessing games (hold an object and give them clues to try to guess)

  • Eating any snacks or food that take a long time to eat really helps pass the time

  • Dollar tree patch time bag

    • Go to the dollar store and spend $20, create 2 or 3 bags and rotate them as new toys to explore, and let them pick which one to explore any toy that is somewhat sensory and tactile is great, could also play the guessing game here

  • Walks -my child was very light sensitive so we had to go at times when it wasn’t too bright out or wear sunglasses and a hat.

  • Visit the toy store to look around (we went to Geppetto's every day for about 45 minutes because they have a lot of toys you could hold and touch) Side note-the woman that worked there was very kind once I explained our situation and I was desperate for a successful patch time. I bought things there every now and then, a reward toy or a birthday gift, etc.

  • Go on a drive and listen to music

    • When mine was little she would rip off the patch constantly if someone wasn’t right there and monitoring so traveling in the car was hard if it was during patch time, they do have braces to put on their arms so they can’t reach rip it off but I felt that was too much so at this stage, I put socks on her hands in the car so she couldn’t rip it off.

  • Skittles guessing game

    • When we put on the patch, as motivation we did a “treat”, yes my kid had candy every morning, but it worked for us, and this was a very hard time so I went with it. 4 Skittles was often the treatment and she tried to guess the color of them. This was a small treat and took up five minutes of patch time so it was a win-win.

Written by one of our community members: Leslie Gallagher mother of Ella

Meet Ella, 4

Ella in her swing. 4 year old blonde little girl,  Peters anomaly, eye patching regularly.
Ella in her swing

Where do you live?

Encinitas, California

Tell me about yourself:

I am 4 years old and a very happy kid. I love to build things and play with my sister. I love school and my kitty, Buddy. I am intelligent, creative, and generally have a happy disposition. I am independent and sassy. I know what I want and am confident.

Your EYE story?

I was born with something called Peters Anomaly, a rare disorder that consists of many vision and eye issues in my one eye (right). My eye has poor eyesight but luckily I am an otherwise typically developing girl and not experiencing any of the other conditions often associated with Peters's Anomaly. I have to wear contact with my weak eye and have had a few surgeries since I was a baby. I patch every day and I have worked very hard to gain more vision in my weak eye. I will have cosmetic surgery once my eye is fully developed and will continue to work on improving my eyesight. I can still do everyday things that kids do but with my patch on, I see very differently and need help with some tasks.

What has been the hardest thing mentally:

It is hard for me to have a good attitude and be willing to wear my patch every day. It is frustrating to do some tasks when I am patching. It is hard to understand why other kids don’t have to do this. My sister and family have helped me a lot and encouraged me to strengthen my eye every day even when it’s hard.

Where are you now in your recovery:

I am still working every day on strengthening my weak eye and my progress has slowed a bit as I’ve gotten older but I will still try!

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