Sometimes it's a struggle just to keep toddlers' clothes on. So how are we supposed to keep a mask on their face?
Getting your child to wear a mask can seem like an impossible task - masks can get hot and uncomfortable, and lots of adults even seem to have difficulty wearing them correctly. However, healthcare professionals are recommending kids wear masks as they go back to school in the fall and in other settings where they can't socially distance.
So how can we help our kids learn how to wear masks?
1. Start early. The sooner you can get your child used to wearing a mask, the better. Start by practicing at home for a few minutes at a time. Slowly build up the length of wear time.
2. Make wearing a mask fun. Let your child wear a mask during an activity they enjoy so they associate it with having a good time. You can also get play masks for toys and stuffed animals. Another great way to encourage your child to wear a mask is to get them one they like. A cloth mask in a fun pattern, or one that they've decorated themselves can go a long way in helping them want to wear it.
4. Be a role model. Lots of kids will be happy to wear a mask if they see you wearing one as well. Wear your mask so that it covers your nose and mouth, and always wash your hands before and after wearing it. They copy everything else they see us doing - same goes for masks.
5. Show them pictures of others wearing masks. Pictures of celebrities, actors from their favourite TV shows or super heroes they like wearing masks, or even pictures of other kids wearing masks will help your child feel like they're not weird for wearing one. The more normal you make them feel wearing their mask, the better.
6. Make it comfy. If your child complains that their mask is uncomfortable, try a different style. They might need a mask that's a different shape or one with straps that fasten around their head rather than around their ears.
7. Compromise. Some children can feel anxious if they feel like they're not allowed to take their mask off under any circumstance while they're wearing it. If your child fidgets with their mask a lot, get them to tell you when they need a "mask break." Wash or sanitize your hands and remove the mask for them to take a few deep breaths when it's safe to do so (away from others). Then put their mask back on and sanitize your hands again.
8. Keep it positive. Answer your child's questions about masks in a simple, positive way that they can understand. You could say wearing a mask helps keep others safe and healthy, or that wearing a mask makes you an important community helper.
Once your child is comfortable wearing a mask, explain to them the right way to wear it - that it should cover both their nose and mouth. Help them wash their hands and put the mask on so that it's snug against their nose and the sides of their face. Praise your child after they wear their mask so that they feel good about it and want to keep up the good work.
And even if your child doesn't wear their mask 100% perfectly, it's better than nothing. The more layers of protection, the better!
Looking for an awesome face mask for your child? Ours come in lots of different patterns and they're the perfect size for kids.