Parenting: Kids and Masks

As New York begins to move through the phases of reopening, one of the most challenging things for many parents is getting your child to wear a mask. Please remember, though, children under two should not wear masks as it can be detrimental to their health. But getting children older than two—especially those with special needs—to wear a mask can be daunting, to say the least. So what I’ve done is put together some quick tips that can help you get your children to not only wear a mask, but to keep it on.

  • Use simple words to explain to your child why we wear masks. Answer children’s questions frankly and honestly.
  • Make wearing a mask special
    • Use fabrics that excite your children. If they are on a dinosaur kick, get them a dinosaur mask. If it’s superheroes, go with that. Check out my son’s Spiderman mask that he will now (after intense work and bribery) wear without a problem
    • Put a mask on your child’s favorite stuffed animals too. Normalize it.
    • Let your child decorate his/her own mask. They can color or use stickers to enhance a plain mask.
    • Draw masks on your child’s favorite characters. This also helps normalize it for your child.
  • Use praise and/or small rewards. No parent really wants to bribe their child, but let’s face it—sometimes it’s the only way to go. The moment it worked for my son was when I told him that he can only ride bikes (socially distanced, of course) with a neighbor if he wore a mask the whole time. Since then, no problems.
  • Recognize that masks may frighten your child. Children rely heavily on people’s facial expressions, which masks disguise. It can be extremely unsettling for your child to see everyone wearing masks.
Categories: COVID-19, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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