Eclipse Tips for Parents of Small Children

20 Aug

If you have older children, this solar eclipse happening in the US is an astounding, wondrous, learning experience. (Right?) If you have small children, though, it’s really just cause for alarm and anxiety. Will I be that parent that watches their kids go blind?

How many minutes will my two year old calculate and obey before he tears away from me and stares directly at the sun, ruining his vision forever? Will my over-anxious five year old ever look upward again, after I warn her that it’s dangerous during a solar eclipse, or will she stare only at people’s shoes for the next fifteen years? What will they tell their future therapists about this moment? How long will it take before someone calls Child Protective Services about one of these serious situations?

Who asked for this eclipse mania, anyway? Isn’t there a better way to deal with the situation, as the parent of small children? How can you trust those solar glasses, when so many have been recalled? How could one relax when one wrong glance in the eclipse can have lifelong detriment?!

So I came up with some ideas, in case you find yourself in a similar predicament, being less than thrilled about the legal implications of your children blinding themselves and doubtful about the educational risk-benefits analysis for small children.

Best Practice #1: Pretend like it’s not happening.

Eclipse? What eclipse? What’s an eclipse? That’s when you fart really loud at a party, right? Poopies? Hahaha! It’s not something to talk about at the table, thank you.

Best Practice #2: Use technology to your advantage.

I took the kids to an informative feature at a planetarium, where they showed us what the eclipse will look like in different moments in different places. I thought this was something to prepare them for the real thing, but as it turns out my older kid was so impressed, she thought she had already seen the whole shebang. “It was yesterday,” she told her Papi. Mission accomplished. My kids have already seen eclipse history in action.

Best Practice #3: Use their lack of long-term memory to your advantage.

Really, the two year old WILL NOT remember this no matter what you do or don’t do. The five year old will remember whatever stories you start telling her now about it. Make it good. Go ahead and tell her it all started when the Earth had the hiccups. (What? Are your small children not utterly obsessed with all bodily noises and functions?)

Best Practice #4: When in doubt, show them the video.

I don’t know about your kids, but my kids are always begging for more screen time, and I usually deny them. All I have to say during the eclipse is, “Let’s watch the video instead!” and they’re sure to be fighting over the best seat to watch it from. I don’t know if I should feel proud or ashamed that my kids would probably be more excited to watch a video of something than to see it in real life. Not letting them turn into TV vegetables backfires too, y’all! Careful what you wish for! There’s no winning in parenting! Oh, wait, except, letting them watch videos so you can act like a grown-up sometimes is winning enough.

So if you didn’t make the fancy cereal boxes or do whatever else folks told you that you had to do to be a good parent for this epic event, rest assured, you are not alone!

Stay safe, do what you need to do, and don’t let the rebellious two year old go blind!

The only reason we have this amazing tool is because a grandparent made it. Thank goodness for our whole village raising my kids. But I still don’t trust the two year old.

 

 

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