The CDC has recommended that all children over the age of two wear face masks when in public or around individuals that they don’t live with. But face masks can be a tough adjustment for children. They may spark fear about the unseen virus that they are hearing about. If you’re looking for help explaining to your child why they need to wear a mask or are struggling to help your child get used to one, keep reading for a few tips.
Wait Until You’re Calm to Talk
If your area has recently increased COVID-19 restrictions or you’re choosing to explain the virus to your child because a loved one is ill, wait until you’ve had time to process the news yourself.
Experts warn that talking to your child while your own anxiety levels are still high may mean passing that anxiety on to your little one. This can cause unnecessary fear, or cause your child to have trouble coping with other challenges, like having to wear a mask.
Wait until you can speak calmly and evenly with your child to begin having the important talk with them.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to explaining difficult, confusing situations to children, the best thing you can do is keep things simple. If your child is young, they likely don’t need to know all of the details about the virus, where it started and where it is spreading. Unless a close family member is sick, they won’t need to know the side effects of the virus.
Instead, keep things simple, at least at first, to give them a chance to process the news. Once you’ve finished explaining, ask them if they have any questions. Don’t shy away from tough questions that you can’t necessarily answer. Instead, be honest, open and positive.
When explaining what the virus is, make sure that your kids understand that wearing a mask is an important measure in keeping themselves and others healthy.
Choose a Mask That Fits Their Face
Before you have the talk about wearing masks, it’s a good idea to find some masks that will fit your child’s face well. A mask that’s too large won’t stay on and will be distracting as they play and go about their day.
Kids’ KN95 masks from Green Supply, designed to offer maximum protection while fitting a child’s face, are a great choice.
Practice Wearing Masks at Home
After you finish your explanation about the virus and show your child their mask, go ahead and practice wearing them at home. For young children, you might let them put a mask on their favorite stuffed animal, while you and they also wear your masks. Play as you would normally, while gently reminding your child to keep their mask on if they remove it.
Older children may not need the playtime to adjust to their mask, but can still benefit from wearing them at home. Wearing a face mask for the first time is a foreign feeling for kids and adults alike. But wearing them in the comfort of your home can help you adjust before you have to go outside and wear them for longer periods of time.
Always Carry Extra Masks
Accidents happen. Even with practice, your child might remove their mask or damage it while playing. Trying to flatten a wrinkled mask or tie torn elastic will only make the mask harder for your child to wear. It’s always a good idea to pack a few extra masks any time you go out, just in case.
Helping Your Kids Adjust to Wearing Masks
Explaining the virus and the need to wear a mask to your children can be difficult and confusing. With a little pre-planning and a gentle, honest approach, you can help your child adjust to this tough change without fear or anxiety.