COVID19 restrictions are slowly being lifted and more places are beginning to re-open. Lots of places are and will be requiring people to wear masks including kids.
Wondering how you are going to get your child to wear a mask?
Here are 7 tips for getting kids to wear their mask:
- Explain to kids why they need to wear masks: You can say: “remember how we had to stay home to keep others safe and not spread germs? Well because we did a good job and we helped a lot, we are now allowed to go out to some places but the rule is we have to wear masks. The masks help to protect others from getting germs.
- Deepen their understanding by comparing to something else they already understand: “The mask is going to be part of our uniform, outfit when we go outside”. “We don’t leave home without our shoes. Now we don’t leave home without our mask”. Talk about all the superheroes or the medical personnel who wear masks too. Emphasize that we are all helpers and we have to wear masks too.
- Use play to process: Put masks on dolls and stuffed animals. Roleplay; putting on the masks before leaving the house, forgetting the masks. Be playful and put the mask on one ear or an elbow and have your child fix it.
- Practice wearing masks: Help children get used to having their mask on by wearing them in a familiar setting like around the house, to go check the mail, or during a walk around the block wearing masks. Avoid having the child wear the mask for the first time at a store and surrounded by stressed-out people wearing masks, this can be scary and overwhelming.
- Use mirrors and take pictures: Kids need to practice seeing themselves as well as their loved ones with a mask on. This is especially true for the younger ones.
- Give them choices when possible: All of these changes are tough for everyone but especially for kids because they have very little control. Check out different mask designs online and become inspired to create your own together. Let them help find a place to store the masks or even design a special box to store them.
- Positive reinforcement, patience, and love: We are asking a lot of kids these days. They have to deal with distant learning, social distancing, and now masks. They deserve credit! Tell them how proud you are of them. Hug on them. They need lots of extra love from you.
It may be hard for parents to see their child wearing a mask under these circumstances. While it is okay to be sad, scared, or angry about all of these changes, please keep in mind your child picks up your cues.