How to Get Your Little One to Wear a Mask
As you know, since COVID-19 emerged, mask-wearing has become increasingly common. Some regions have been recommending the use of masks when physical distancing is not possible, and other areas are formally mandating mask use in public indoor spaces such as grocery stores and public transportation.
Parents everywhere have been left with the question, how am I going to get my young child to wear a mask AND not take it off? While we can’t promise that stubborn toddlers will comply, we have a few tips for getting your little ones to wear a mask.
Lead by example. Model good habits by wearing a mask yourself! This one is easy — children will be more inclined to wear masks if they see you doing so.
Talk about it. Children may be resistant to wearing masks if they don’t understand why. Keep your words simple and to the point. Something like “We’re going to start wearing masks in the grocery store to keep germs away!” is sufficient.
Show your child pictures of other children wearing masks. They will enjoy seeing other children wearing masks and be more excited about needing to wear one themselves.
Let your child pick their own mask. If you’re in need of new masks, give your little one a few mask options to choose from. If they like the mask, they will be more inclined to wear it!
Practice. Playtime can be a great opportunity to practice mask-wearing. When your little one is engaged in pretend play, you can introduce the idea of wearing masks — even making a game of it! You can even put a mask on their favourite stuffed animal!
Make it fit. Make sure their mask is comfortable and fits properly so they don’t feel the need to fiddle with it. If the mask is bothering their ears, try one of the masks that tie at the back of the head instead.
Encourage kids to decorate their masks. Next family night, set some time aside to decorate your child’s mask together.
What if my young child gets scared whenever they see people wearing masks?
For younger children, seeing people wear masks for the first time may make them uncomfortable. With the help of Kidshealth.org, we have a few suggestions for how to overcome this hurdle.
Accept their reaction. It’s normal for children to have adverse reactions to things that are new to them. It may take some time for them to become accustomed to seeing people wear masks all the time.
Talk about it. Acknowledge their feelings about seeing people in masks. You can say something like “People looked different wearing masks today, didn’t they?” From there, listen and respond to their reaction.
Make them feel safe. Young children may need some extra comfort when adjusting to seeing people in masks. Once they feel soothed by you, it will be easier for them to adjust to the change.