This post is about preparing your child so they don’t have to adjust to a mask if they have to wear one. No matter your opinion on the topic, your kid may need to wear a mask at some point.
It’s a good idea to get your child prepared – even if you’re not sure they’ll be in a classroom, or if your school hasn’t made any mask rules yet. Perhaps they won’t be attending school, but they may need to wear one around town. It’s better to get your child used to wearing a mask at home now so it won’t be an upsetting battle later.
Here are some tips to help your child adjust to wearing a mask:
1 Explain in age-appropriate ways.
You might say something like this: “We all have our own germs, but we can’t see them. Some germs can make other people sick. Masks prevent them from going over to another person so we can all stay healthy.” You can adjust the information depending on your child’s age and level of understanding.
2 Let your child weigh in on the masks they wear.
Let your child select one, if possible. If you have solid-color masks allow your child to decorate theirs with markers or stickers. They’ll be more likely to buy into the process if something about it is fun for them.
3 Practice at home.
Short bursts daily would be best. Wear them during playtime as most children will become engrossed in play and forget about the mask. Weave them into your play; make them part of a costume.
4 Model wearing one graciously.
It’s best if you can do it without complaint or comment. Keep it unemotional and factual; talk about how good it makes you feel to help keep others safe.
5 Listen to their feelings or concerns.
Let them express their thoughts and feelings about having to wear a mask, but don’t let it turn into a major issue. Stay level-headed and grounded. Validate their feelings.
Everyone’s year is going to look different no matter their circumstances. To the extent that you can help your kids feel supported through the changes, the more equipped they’ll feel to deal with them and feel positive about the changes.
Adapted from the author’s original post