As we as adults continue to adjust to our new normal, children are also adjusting to a new normal in their lives. They are suddenly home all day, learning through a computer, missing their friends and seeing more and more adults wearing masks. To some children, this may be an unsettling sight. Among other adjustments children are making, this change may come with a lot of resistance, fear and anxiety. However, just as it is now being recommended for adults to wear masks while out in public, the CDC is recommending children over the age of 2, wear masks while in situations where 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained.
Now you may ask, how am I going to make my toddler or preschool age child cooperate with wearing a mask?! This may seem like an impossible task. Here are some tips to help your child successfully wear their masks:
- Have open and honest conversations about why we are wearing masks – before jumping in to wearing the mask, have conversations about them. Explain to children, on their level, why we are wearing masks. For younger children, start with explaining that people are sick. For older children, get a little more detailed, explain we are being safe to protect ourselves from germs, etc. Be sure to remember to explain everything appropriately based on your child’s age. Need help explaining why we are wearing masks to your kids? Check out our friend Elmo learning all about why we wear masks here!
- Practice wearing your masks at home – help get your child familiar with wearing a mask by wearing them at home. Wear them as a family on and off during the day so your child becomes accustomed to seeing familiar faces wearing a mask. While practicing, make sure to practice not touching our masks!
- Share pictures of others wearing masks – ask your family or friends to participate and help out so your child sees other familiar faces in masks.
- Design your own mask – get creative! Have your children join in and pick their own pattern, or even decorate their own mask! This also doubles as a way to keep them entertained for a little while.
- Make masks for stuffed animals – keep your child’s favorite stuffed animal safe too! If you are decorating masks, have your child make a mask for their special friends so they know they are safe too!
- Incorporate masks into play time – have your child’s toys participate in mask time! Get imaginative, maybe a stuffed animal can practice wearing their mask too! During creative play, pretend to be a doctor, etc.
Don’t have a mask for your kids? Check out this video on how to make your own, child size mask. With this video, you can truly have your kids involved as they can pick the print of the fabric, decorate, etc. For safety purposes, always check the CDC for the latest information on wearing masks – from recommended ages, to appropriate coverage and more. We hope this helps with the adjustment to the new normal and add a little fun to our new safety accessory!