Since the CDC recommends children over the age of 2 wear masks in social situations, many parents worry their child will have a problem complying with this mandate. If you are among those concerned parents, here are some practical face mask tips for children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kids Are Adaptable
There might be less issues with kids wearing a mask than with adults. Although it has been recommended that we wear masks even in situations where we can safely distance from others, many adults still find it hard to do.
Our children won’t be able to attend school without a mask, so as parents we should begin to model the behavior. Adults are more conscious of masks, but kids are more adaptable. They will forget they have them on after a while as they are learning, playing with their peers, and getting back to some normalcy.
Practice Makes Perfect
Wearing a mask can become second nature to a kid after a while.
First, let them observe you wearing one when you leave the house. Next find one that fits well for them to try on. Show them how to put it on, have them look in the mirror at themselves, and show them pictures of others wearing one.
Put one on their favorite toy or stuffed animal. Maybe let them pick out their own mask.
Next, plan a trip to the grocery store or take a walk with everyone wearing their mask. Kids learn what they see, and it will become easier for them with each instance.
Explain The Whys
Many children ask “why,” all the time, and this is a big one to answer. Explain that there is a new sickness and that right now everyone can protect themselves by wearing a mask. Wearing one keeps the bad germs from reaching your mouth and nose, and it protects others too.
Explain further about how washing hands frequently kills the bad germs. Impress upon them that they should wash their hands before they put on their mask and after they take it off.
The following are some additional ways to protect your child and others:
- Have them learn to cough into their elbow, not into their hands.
- Encourage them not to touch their face especially their eyes, nose and mouth.
- They should stay home if they are feeling sick. Teens may find this hard to do.
- Washing hands should become a ritual.
Make Sure Your Child’s Mask Fits Properly
The purpose of wearing a mask is to keep COVID-19 germs from being inhaled into their nose or mouth. Make sure the mask is snug but comfortable. It should fit over their nose and under their chin with no gaps on the side. Adjust accordingly.
Have your child practice putting on their mask and taking it off. Assure them they don’t need to wear it while at home or playing in the backyard with family members.
Don’t make light of the pandemic, but impress upon all your children that everyone can stay safe if they practice the CDC guidelines.
Contact CHI if your child has a fever or has any trouble breathing normally.