I live on the pending eclipse path, so How To Keep Your Kids From Going Blind is suddenly a topic around here.
First thing to know: The hazard of the eclipse is if you look at the sun. There aren’t deadly Eclipse Rays that come out and attack while you are napping in your hammock in the shade. The trouble, of course, is thats it’s really unusual to see the sun get all blocked up by the moon, and so people who would otherwise never stare at the sun might suddenly take an interest. Staring at the sun is always bad for you.
(Your pets, in contrast, probably aren’t going to take up astronomy as a hobby on Monday afternoon, unless I suppose that’s something you’ve caught them at before. My pets never stare at the sun. They mostly stare at the back door. And meat. If there’s a Meat Eclipse, my dog will be watching that one closely.)
So anyway, back to your kids.
#1 Practice Using Your Safety Glasses Ahead of Time
You got yourself NASA-approved glasses, of course, and you’ve read all about sun-viewing safety. Now practice. You do not want to be in the middle of a very short once-in-a-lifetime event and your kids are like “I can’t make mine work!” “I can’t see!” “These itch!” Practice.
#2 Not All Children Can Be Trusted to Wear Their Safety Glasses
If your child is not mature enough to be counted on, skip the viewing altogether. Just don’t go there. If your child is young enough to be oblivious you don’t even have to tell them there’s a viewing option. You can just let your young children know that the sun is going to be covered up by the moon, so it’s going to get dark outside in the middle of the day, which is nifty.
They’ll of course want to see it get dark (but they won’t want to go bed). So pick a room with a window that doesn’t face towards the sun during your eclipse time of day. Set the kids up so they can watch it get dark out that window. Stream the eclipse on your computer so that they can compare the progress of the eclipse with conditions outside.
For more info: NASA has all your eclipse enjoyment science needs covered here. Food, drink, and lounge chairs you’ll have to sort out for yourself.
Artwork courtesy of Wikimedia [Public Domain]