Face masks can be strange or a little scary for kids, especially if they need to wear the masks also.
If your child is over the age of two, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings when venturing out in public. To help make the face mask task a little easier, here are 15 ways you can address this with kids.
1. Answer their questions.
It’s important to not be dismissive. Be sure to respond calmly and thoughtfully.
2. Give support.
Acknowledge that this is weird. Everyone’s world is upside down – even for kids!
3. Practice wearing them.
Help kids get used to the mask by wearing them at home first. Teach them how to put on and take off
4. Make them together.
If you’re crafty, make the masks together. Not so crafty? Have them pick out their pattern or fabric. Another option would be to have your kids decorate their own masks – using fabric paint.
5. Role play.
Have them pretend they’re doctors or nurses or even superheroes!
6. Lead by example.
Let them see you taking all the right steps, including wearing the mask.
7. Keep it simple.
Use simple words to explain why people are wearing masks.
8. Add them to playtime.
Make a mask for their favorite stuffed animal or toy! You can ask your child to put a mask on a stuffed animal, and then ask follow-up questions about why the stuffed animal is wearing the mask. Depending on your child’s response, you can clear up any confusion and offer reassurance.
Related: 20+ Face Mask Makers in Indianapolis
9. Have a few masks handy.
Chances are, they’ll be wearing them often. Some will be more comfortable and enjoyed more than others. Perhaps have one in your purse, car, and at home.
10. Get the right size.
Many local businesses are offering kid-sized masks. Make sure the mask is snug – you don’t want gaps on the sides. And if you have one that’s slightly large, try throwing it in the washing machine and dryer to shrink slightly.
11. Get cheesy.
There are many companies offering matching masks. Why not get a little corny so your kids can feel extra special?
12. Be honest.
Tell them why. Find appropriate videos that show how quickly germs can spread through the mouth and nose, like this black light experiment and how germs spread experiment. Knowing what to expect helps kids of all ages feel more at ease.
13. Explain the positives.
Try this: “Because of the masks and proper hand washing, we’re able to leave the house more often!”
14. Let kids show what they know.
Invite them to tell you what they already know about they already know about stopping the spread of germs. Give them praise to help them feel proud and capable.
15. Trust your gut.
If your child is having difficulty breathing, having sensory issues or not adjusting well, we recommend seeking advice from your child’s physician.