6 ways to make wearing a face mask less scary for young kids
Public health experts agree that wearing a face mask can lower the risk of transmitting the virus to others.Posted — Updated
Public health experts agree that wearing a face mask can lower the risk of transmitting the coronavirus to others.
The masks trap droplets that come out when we talk, cough or sneeze, preventing the chance that they'll reach somebody else. If you have COVID-19, even without symptoms, wearing a mask can keep you from spreading those germs to another person. For the person who might otherwise receive your germs, that could mean the difference between life, death or a lengthy hospital stay.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that infants and toddlers under the age of 2 should not wear cloth face coverings. But, in cases where physical distancing isn't possible, the pediatricians group recommends face masks for most other kids, barring other health issues.
But covering our faces while out in public doesn't feel natural for nearly all of us. And, for young children, it can feel downright scary. For kids who may be reluctant to don a mask, the academy shares the following tips:
- Look in the mirror with the face coverings on and talk about it.
- Put a cloth face covering on a favorite stuffed animal.
- Decorate them so they're more personalized and fun.
- Show your child pictures of other children wearing them.
- Draw one on their favorite book character.
- Practice wearing the face covering at home to help your child get used to it.
In other words, look for ways to normalize face masks in your own house, working the topic into your day-to-day routine as you play, read and interact with your child.
Another thing that will help kids get used to wearing masks — seeing adults wear them too, the group says.
"One of the biggest challenges with having children wear cloth face coverings relates to them 'feeling different' or stereotyping them as being sick," the group writes. "As more people wear these cloth face coverings, children will get used to them and not feel singled out or strange about wearing them."
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