How can we get creative and encourage our children to wear a mask? At my house, this has not been very hard because my children are involved in a few community activities that have required a mask, and they would prefer to participate. If wearing a mask is what it takes, then they are willing. They also see myself and their neighbors wearing one to work each day. However, I know it will be hard for some children to get used to the idea of wearing a mask when they join their parents at the store, or church, other community activities.
For children and adults alike, any change can be challenging. Some children may respond with crying or tantrums, but most children will be able to accept wearing a mask pretty easily if adults set the tone for them.
Give your child real reasons for wearing the mask. Meet your child at their level and answer their questions. You can first start with holding the mask and talking about it, or playing pretend with it. Move on to practice wearing the mask. Use a mirror and make sure your child can hear well. Remember to be patient with your child, and practice repeatedly and often.
It could be fun to decorate the mask with your child using markers, stickers, iron ons, or sewn on patches. These things that will engage your child and increase their ownership of the mask. Families can make a mask from a favorite cloth pattern or order from companies that have kid-friendly versions, which can be a helpful way to get kids to buy in.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a great website with lots of topical and timely information for parents.
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.