Mask wearing is a new element of our daily life. It’s one thing to add to your checklist to get out the door each day, but it’s altogether another to teach your child to wear a mask regularly. If your family chooses to participate in socially-distanced activities or needs to run a few errands during the week, your child may be required to wear his or her mask for a few minutes or even a few hours at a time.
How to Encourage Your Child to Wear a Mask
It’s important to approach this new exercise as we approach anything with our kids. How did you introduce potty training, transitioning from a crib, or going to school for the first time?
Gather your supplies
- Masks: There are many different styles of masks available. The general consensus in some of our Neighborhood Groups suggests that Old Navy makes a really great option for kids! Old Navy and Target have both contoured and pleated options in lots of colors and patterns. You may need to try a few to find the best fit for your child.
- Lanyards: Don’t lose your masks! Keep them close at hand with snap lanyards. The ear bands easily slip off the paper clip style and you’re back to where you started!
- Ear band adjusters: It doesn’t hurt to keep these ear band adjusters handy for masks that are a little too big. If not, tie a small knot in the band!
Talk about it and model it
Even really young children can understand us when we take focused time to share with them. Explain to your child why we need to wear masks when we go out and that once they are back outside, in the car, or at home, they can remove the mask again! Model mask wearing for your children so that they become familiar with what it looks like when you wear your mask.
Allow your child time to practice mask-wearing. Start out asking them to wear their mask for a few minutes at a time at home, working up to longer periods of time. Take a walk through the grocery store with your child without purchasing anything so that you can make a quick getaway if necessary. Chances are, your child will do better with it than you think!
When you have to be somewhere for a long period of time, make sure to allow your child to have mask breaks outside or in the car away from others.
Children’s Health is committed to remaining a trusted source of health information and care for you and your family during this time. See more resources to keep your family healthy at the Children’s Health COVID-19 hub.