We’re celebrating our newest patching victory with this shirt from @eyepowerkids
(plus a few sweet treats!) 🍭🍪 Gus began patching when he was 5 months old & I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought, “I can’t wait until he understands incentives & rewards to make process easier.” No, not bribes... incentives and rewards. 😉
I have been providing short-term patching incentives for Gus since he was probably 17 months old, saying things like, “Let’s put your patch on so we can go to the library!” or “We’re at the park now! Let’s put your patch on so we can play!” These phrases have created positive associations with patch-time: Eye Patch = Fun activity. Of course, toddlers go through stages of testing their limits & a couple of weeks ago, Gus decided he was over my system. He flat-out refused to patch at certain points despite missing out on a fun activity, so back to the drawing board I went!
1 week ago I started a new rewards-based system during patch-time & it’s been working great so far!
This is a trick I shared in the “Compliance 101” post in my “Becoming a Patching Parent” series for the Children’s Eye Foundation blog, but until now, Gus has been too young to implement it. (He turned 2 in July.) At patch-time, I let Gus have 1 Jelly Belly jelly bean as an incentive to get his patch on & then another as a reward after his patch & glasses are on. I then set a timer for 1 minute, then 3 minutes, a few more increments of 3, then 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and then gradually phase out the timer out altogether. Whenever the timer beeps & Gus is still wearing his patch I say, “That’s the bell & your eye patch is on! Good patch! Yummy treat!” Gus caught on quickly & began responding instantly to the sound of the alarm’s bell, saying things like” Bell!! Yummy!!!” or “Eye Datch! Bean!!!” The idea is to reduce the frequency of the treats throughout the day until no longer needed. We’re a week in & I don’t set the timer quite as often as before, but if I see Gus trying to take his patch off, I might say, “Patch stays on! Keep your patch on & you can eat a jelly bean! Okay?” We now have an an assortment of patching treats, but the beans have been his fave!