The world as we know it has changed and it can be pretty tough on kids. That makes it pretty tough for parents too. This can be especially true when it comes to having to wear face masks because of COVID-19. We hope that the following information will help give you some peace of mind as you help your kids adjust to a new way of doing things.
Wearing a face mask is an important part of helping to slow the spread of the COVID-19. It is not just for doctors and healthcare workers anymore. This kind of a change can be scary for kids. Especially when it goes beyond seeing people wearing masks and becomes wearing the masks themselves. So what do you do as a parent?
- Use simple words to explain why people are wearing masks.
- Give kids time to look, watch, and get used to what’s new.
- Answer kids’ questions.
- Give support.
Keep in mind that all kids are unique and may have different needs. With that said, let’s go over how kids might react and what you can do to make it easier.
How Kids Might React
If you’re wondering how your kids might react, the answer likely depends on their age. For older kids, there is a good chance that it will be an easy adjustment for them and they will likely have a good understanding of why things are happening. However, it could be a different story for your young kids and toddlers. It might be scary for your young kids to see people with masks or coverings on their face.
You should not be surprised if they cry, hide their face, or cling to one of their family members. This is normal because young kids rely on faces. From the time they are babies, children naturally look at faces for the signals that they need to feel safe. Masks prevent them from being able to see a smile or familiar looks from people that can help to put them at ease. When they cannot see someone’s face, it is more difficult to feel safe and easy to feel scared or uneasy.
You can help them through these feelings. Do this slowly and gently. Help them to feel more comfortable by giving them plenty of time to get accustomed to the situation and what they are seeing. Telling them that it is OK will help them to relax.
Masks For Kids — How You Can Help
Everyone over the age of two can wear a cloth face covering or face mask to help slow down the spread of the COVID-19. Use the following tips to help your kids understand the need and feel comfortable wearing masks when you go out in public.
- Make it fun — Kids will do just about anything if you can make it fun for them. You can make wearing a mask into a game for them. Give them a mask and let them pretend to be a doctor. They can be in charge of taking care of a doll or stuffed animal.
- Have extra masks — Most kids do a lot of playing that include the use of their imagination. Give them some extra masks to use and masks can become a normal part of their everyday life. Letting a child put masks on their stuffed animals can be a great way to gain insight on how they are feeling about wearing one themselves. You can ask them some follow-up questions about why their stuffed animal has a mask and use their answers to help them with any uncertainty or fears they might have.
- Let them help — A lot of people have been making their own masks. Let your kids help if they are able. If not, you can at least let them pick out the patterns or materials. This can help them take some ownership of the masks and even want to wear them.
- Teach them how — Don’t make your kids wear a mask for the first time in public. Have them put a mask on at home and wear it around the house a few times to get used to it. You should also teach them the way to put their mask on and take it off. You can also have them look in the mirror to see what they look like with a mask on. This can help when they see strangers who are wearing masks.
- Let them decorate — Even if you aren’t making your own masks, your kids can still take some ownership of them. Depending on the material used to make the mask, markers or stickers are a good way for kids to decorate. This can increase the odds of them wanting to wear their mask.
When Kids Should Wear Masks
It is important to help kids to be as safe as possible. Right now, this means wearing a mask. But no kids are going to be willing to wear masks 24/7. So when are masks for kids absolutely essential and when can they have a break?
Kids should have their masks on in places where the six feet of social distancing may not be possible at all times. This could be for places like doctor visits, grocery stores, and other errands you may have to bring them along for. On the other hand, there are also places when your kids should be just fine to leave their mask off without worry.
- At home as long as there is no exposure to anyone who may have COVID-19.
- Outside with the understanding that six feet of social distancing needs to be maintained.
Some additional consideration should be taken about kids and masks if wearing a mask is making the child touch their face much more than they should or if it becomes a choking or strangulation hazard for the child.
How To Wear Masks
The right way for kids to wear masks is to place the cloth to make sure it is covering their nose and their mouth. It should stretch from ear to ear and fit securely. Help them to remember that they need to wash their hands before and after they have worn the mask. Remind your kids to try not to touch the mask once they have it on.
Teach your kids to remove their mask by taking it off from behind so they don’t touch the front of their mask. Masks should be removed when kids are eating or drinking and they should be washed after they have been worn in public.
Just 4 Kids Urgent Care
We hope this will help you help your kids deal with wearing a mask and understand why it is an important preventative measure to take. As always, please give us a call or come and see us if you have any questions about how to keep your kids healthy when it comes to COVID-19 or anything else.