Face coverings are an essential component in keeping children safe as they return to school and child care and other group settings and it is required for use for children over 2 years old. Here are some tips on making it a daily family practice.
Offer Variety and Choice: Many parents know that most battles get resolved when you involve your child in a decision-making process and empower them to make their own choices. Purchasing or making a few different types of masks in a variety of colors or designs will support this independent thinking. Bonus – you’ll always be sure to have an extra clean mask on hand. If possible, allow your child to pick out the masks or material before you purchase or make them. When your child needs to wear a mask, start with giving them a choice. For Example: “Would you like to wear your red mask, or your blue mask?”
Practice “Masked” Behavior: Help your child feel good about seeing others and
themselves in a mask by finding opportunities to model a variety of scenarios:
1. Wear your mask in front of your child
2. Practice wearing masks together, looking in the mirror and talking about it, demonstrating the correct and incorrect ways to wear them
Look at photos with other children wearing masks
Take a walk or visit the park. Create an activity such as “counting the number of blue masks” or “observing which masks have patterns versus solids”
Play! Put masks on a favorite doll or stuffed animal
Reward & Reinforce the Positive:
Practice with a timer. For example: “First we’ll practice wearing our masks for five minutes. Then we’ll play with your blocks.”
Do a favorite activity while they’re practicing with their mask
Plan a rewarding activity that requires wearing a mask like the playground!
Words of encouragement and plenty of positivity always help reinforce the behavior – take selfies, give high fives and cheers… whatever it takes!
One Final Note… Wearing a mask is hard for a lot of people, and can be really hard for children. Pick and choose what tips here might work best for you and your child. Take it one day at a time, take breaks and have patience. Most importantly, try to remain calm and positive and model the best behavior by wearing a mask too!