As coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, it becomes vital to stay healthy. Some practices like physical distancing, washing our hands, and wearing masks have become the need of the hour. One of the most important precautions that families should take is wearing these in public. The safety measure holds the best when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
Yet, many parents believe in making their child wear one as a challenge. Getting to wear a face mask and having it on for hours seems like a daunting process. Children are active and act fidgety- thus, wearing a face covering is more like an adjustment than free-will. But, it may come as a surprise for parents that their children can actually wear a mask. Yes, and all it takes is a little practice and some counseling. Which face covering is the best for your child? Well, that depends upon the material and the activities your child is doing while wearing the protective face covering.
The health care professionals suggest opting for masks that are soft and have stretchable materials like polyester and spandex. Face coverings with these fabrics help in wicking away the sweat while indulging in intense physical activities. If face coverings with the best breathability are on your list, opt for tightly woven cotton, linen, or cotton-polyester materials.
How can Parents Inculcate the Essence of Wearing Masks in Children?
Parents must take note of the fact that kids are adaptable and resilient. Every child is different and takes longer to adjust with these. Children may get distracted and may not notice their masks after a little while. Parents and caregivers must ensure children under the age of 2 don’t wear masks.
The situation holds good for all the other kids also who face difficulties in removing the face coverings on their own. Now that kids resist wearing these since it covers their face and other kids may find it hard to identify them, kid’s communication mask seems like the best option. Yes, the clear ones have a design that’s intended for mouth visibility through a clear plastic window. The safety device generally has two layers of 100% preshrunk cotton and plastic sewn into the opening.
You realize the importance of wearing face coverings and want to introduce the practice of wearing the same in your children also. You can start by taking small steps at your home itself. One such way can be including mask-wearing into their play. You can make them teach their toys- dolls or stuffed animals about putting on the safety piece of clothing. Doing so will help them inculcate the habit of wearing face coverings.
Tips to Encourage your Kids to Wear a Face Covering:
Children may perceive face masks as dangerous objects while others may never wish to wear one. You can always encourage your child to wear a face mask with some simple tips:
● Use Examples:
If you have a preschooler, you can always introduce the concept of covering your face with a mask at home with your child. Repeating the process for some days might help in making your child comfortable and engulf the importance of wearing a mask.
● Spread Positive Messages:
Think of answers to all your child’s problems. Your child may be curious about a face mask, so provide solutions to make them understand the best. You can consider saying things like going to a grocery store with a face covering may keep us safe and healthy. Or, wearing a face covering can help us win a community competition. A sense of competitiveness may serve your purpose of wearing a mask while contributing towards their health upliftment.
● Ensure Creativity:
Your child works the best when put into a creative situation. You can consider decorating a mask with your child. Use some colors and other decorative materials to bring about cool masks. You can also experiment by going for theme-based designs like Halloween, Christmas, or your child’s favorite cartoon character. It will not only make your child wear the same for safety, but your kid will also flaunt it in front of his friends. If you have different options, decide which one to wear on a particular day.
● Model Mask-wearing:
You can show your kids pictures of other kids and adults wearing protective coverings. A quick Google search or social media page may suffice your need. Signifying other people’s examples and using exact words like “See, everybody’s wearing these cool masks” can work wonders in motivating your child to wear one.
● Make it Comfy:
If your child complains of discomfort, ensure laying hands on a different style. You can use the one that has ties instead of an elastic one around the ears. The transparent masks work in sufficing your exact needs since those have a sheet that enhances communication and helps the deaf and other people with hearing disabilities. Your child may also get the bliss of communicating through their non-verbal expressions.
● Ensure that the size fits the child correctly and comfortably:
Make sure that it fits your child comfortably and correctly to end the scope for fidgeting. See if the cloth face covers your child’s nose and mouth properly while securing the same beneath the chin. Avoid any gaps in the sides so that it is snug. Check twice if your child can breathe while wearing it. Ensure teaching your child about washing their hands at all times before and after wearing the same.
● Model exemplary behavior:
One of the best ways to motivate your child to wear a mask is to use the face covering yourself first. Child behavior experts exclaim that kids are always listening and watching. Children make a note of how you talk and react when wearing one. They observe you well and learn by following your lead.
Educate your children that there’s a time and place for everything- the same ideology goes for face covering as well. Teach your children how and when it is appropriate for your kids to take breaks from wearing a mask. Some places that deserve mandatory wearing are when people are outdoors. Instruct them to maintain a safe distance from people- at all times. Also, ensure that they store their used coverings in a proper place. Educate your kids to clean their hands before and after removing the face cover. Use positive language for encouragement as it brings about safety for yourself and the family.