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  • Writer's pictureJanice Robinson-Celeste

8 Ways to Help Kids Adjust to Face Masks

Are you battling with your child about wearing a face mask? Dr. Andrea White, pediatrician with UnityPoint Health, shares her advice, including eight ways to help your child adjust to wearing face masks.

"We need to normalize mask-wearing – just like we do with other good habits. If we are consistent with our messages, kids will start to understand. This is true for all age groups – even the very youngest of kids. For example, my daughter was not a big fan of pants when she was 2 years old, but we got over that hurdle with persistent messaging," Dr. White says.

8 Ways to Help Your Child Adjust to Wearing a Face Mask:

  • Be Consistent. Stick with a constant message around mask-wearing and include gentle reminders about not touching the outside of the mask. Make sure it has a secure fit and always covers both the mouth and nose.

  • Explain Why. Even very young kids will understand masks are important to help keep everyone safe.

  • Personalize. Let your children pick out kid-friendly masks with characters and cool designs or encourage them to decorate their own with tie-dye or fabric markers.

  • Take a Picture. Snap a photo of your child in a mask and reinforce how awesome he/she looks. Try a family photo, or simply look in a mirror together.

  • Practice at Home. Get the whole family involved in practicing mask wearing for a day, or a few hours, to get the hang of it.

  • Use Masks in Play. For younger kids, put masks on stuffed animals or dolls during playtime.

  • See Masks in Action. While it's still best to avoid public spaces as much as possible, consider taking your child out to a safe space where people are wearing masks to help normalize mask-wearing.

  • Identify Good Behavior. Point out others who are doing a good job wearing masks.

Bonus Tip – Send Extra Masks

"There are endless scenarios where kids will gunk up masks, either by sneezing, coughing, dropping it on the bathroom floor, touching it with messy hands … the list goes on. The other day, I removed a face mask to check a patient's mouth and the inside was covered with the remnants of a sucker! The best option is to keep a supply of back-up masks on hand – so your child can have options in case of a messy emergency," Dr. White says.

SOURCE -- UnityPoint Health

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