Masks are a mandatory protective measure against the virus, and as the pandemic continues, many experts advise everybody to wear masks, including children.
If you have children, then you already know how hard it is to get them to do anything you want, and they don’t. Thus, making children wear masks properly is a tedious task and a very hard concept for children to grasp upon. However, it is still needed, as the Delta variant is spreading fast around the globe and is much more harmful than the previous variants of Covid’19.
The United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has endorsed that all kids above 2 years are obligated to wear face covers in indoor public places to decrease the spreading of the virus.
It is not easy for children to wear masks all day in schools, and being indoors. This is why it is important to learn techniques and ways to make sure your child understands the significance of face-covering in today’s pandemic-hit world.
The question remains: How to get your child to wear a mask? Here are some strategies listed down below that can help you get your child to wear the face mask, and keep wearing it.
Understand that every child is different
Every child is different, so it is vital parents understand their child as an individual and assess the little ones to their personalities.
Jennifer Sciolla, senior director of child and family services at Nemours Alfred Dupont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware says “It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. You always want to make that time and space at the beginning for parents to consider their child.”
She also suggests parents should ask themselves a list of questions before even attempting to form an approach to get their child to wear face masks.
A few of the important questions are: What is important to my child? How does my child understand information? How aware of the outside world is my child? To what extent might a mask or the possibility of a mask give my child anxiety?
Since there are different types of children, it is required to approach them according to their age and circumstances. A study revealed that toddlers may be scared to see other people in masks because they cannot see and understand faces that kids develop by adolescence. Some autistic children require a different set of approaches and an understanding that it will be much harder for children with special abilities to process this change.
Explain them about the situation
It is impossible to expect children to listen without being made aware of the situation and why this face mask is important to wear. However, this explanation is to be done accordingly to the child’s understanding.
For little children, this might involve explaining the situation in lament terms such as “This is the bad guy, and you have to wear a mask to defeat it.”
Parents can also use the aspect of kindness to get kids to realize that wearing face masks isn’t only about them, suggested Liza Suarez, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Make your child feel Engaged and involved
An alternative way to make your child wear face masks is to make them feel involved in the process of the masks. Let children choose their masks, design them as their preference, or allow them to sit while you sew down their face covers. The main point is to make them feel like they are included and engaged in the whole idea of wearing masks so it does not come off as a command or order.
In general, kids also appreciate getting to have a say in the style of the masks they wear. You’d let them pick out a T-shirt, Why wouldn’t you let them pick out a face covering?” says, Melissa Cousino, professor of pediatrics at Michigan Medicine.
Everything requires practice
Once you have made your children agree to wear masks, it is important to make them practice to keep it on or get used to it.
Guardians can try having kids wear their masks in the house for short periods to feel more comfortable, Suarez, the psychiatrist, said. Another fun activity termed medical play is to have kids wear masks and look at themselves in the mirror to get accustomed to the various changes in the expressions of the face.
“Parents could also consider turning mask-wearing into a game”, recommended Gail Robertson, a child psychologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
Ano technique is to explain children with facts of science at their level of understanding. When you give kids facts and science, you enable them to explore the truth.
Communicate with them again and again
Repetition is a key to assuring agreement with the new rules. This implies that you have to repeat the same instruction to your child, especially the younger ones for them to listen and follow the rules
Suarez says, “The name of the game is consistency, seeing that parents must frequently remind their children of this rule: They just cannot move around in the world right now without wearing a mask to protect themselves and others.”
This is a long process, thus nothing can happen overnight. The key is to keep repeating this process until it works and find ways that suit your children the most. The result will be achieved little by little, so take it a little every day to ensure your child understands and wears masks as required by the safety protocols.
This article is attributed to Matt Villano from CNN