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.
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