As coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread, it’s essential to take steps to stay healthy, reminiscent of steadily washing fingers and training social distancing. One necessary precaution families should take is wearing a face mask in public, particularly in situations where social distancing is difficult.
However, for many parents, getting a child to wear a face mask and go away it on may really feel like a challenge. Youngsters are active and are typically fidgety – and wearing a mask could be an adjustment for anyone. But dad and mom could be shocked to be taught that their child is capable of wearing a mask – it might just take a little practice.
Why should children wear face masks in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?
COVID-19 spreads mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing or talking. A material face covering acts as a barrier to help stop the spread of those respiratory droplets. Fabric face masks are only at stopping the spread of COVID-19 when they’re used widely by individuals in public.
The Centers for Disease Management and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everybody 2 years and older wear a fabric face covering, with the exception of anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove their mask without assistance. Children under the age of two should not wear a mask because of risk of suffocation. Learn more about how face masks can assist forestall the spread of COVID-19.
When ought to children wear a face mask?
Children 2 years and older ought to wear a fabric face mask when they are in public and around people outside their home. Face masks are most vital in situations the place social distancing is tough to observe, similar to in a grocery store. Children do not must wear a mask around their own house, if enjoying outside away from different individuals or during swimming.
In case your child has a developmental disability, psychological health condition or sensory dysfunction that makes it troublesome to wear a material face covering, it could also be greatest to keep away from crowded places or social interactions the place masks are needed. Talk to your health care provider for more advice.
How can I assist my child adjust to wearing a face mask?
Parents may help children adjust to wearing a material face covering over their nose and mouth by taking the following steps:
1. Clarify to your child why face masks are important
Start by educating your child on why wearing a face mask is important to help forestall the spread of COVID-19. Use age-appropriate language to talk to your child about coronavirus.
For youthful children, stick with simple, concrete terms. “You possibly can say things like, ‘Wearing a mask helps hold us safe and maintain others round us safe,’ or ‘Wearing a mask can help protect us and others from germs,'” says Faubel. “It’s useful to be consistent in the way you explain this and saying this message over and over.”
For older children, you possibly can share more data and consult with trusted resources such as the CDC for illustrations that show how masks can help stop the virus from spreading.
2. Normalize face masks via play
Children be taught through play, and this may also help them process their feelings. Give your child a mask for their favorite stuffed animal, sew a matching mask for a doll or draw masks on characters in coloring books. Follow placing the mask on their toy and consider having your child apply wearing the mask with the toy to normalize the situation.
Listen to what your child is saying as she or he plays; it’s an incredible way for folks to learn how their child is understanding or feeling about a situation.
3. Provide fun and colourful mask options
As face masks turn out to be more widespread, it’s getting easier to find child-friendly patterns and options. Search for cloth masks that characteristic your child’s favorite colour or character. You possibly can even have your child help select a design, so they feel a part of the process.
“If potential, have a few different mask options on your child, to allow them to resolve which mask they need to wear that day,” suggests Faubel. “This may also help prevent any battles when asking them to put on their mask.”
When taking a look at kid-friendly mask options, be sure you choose a cloth face covering that is simply washable and sized on your child’s age.
4. Guarantee your child’s mask fits correctly and comfortably
Making sure your child’s mask fits correctly and comfortably will help prevent them from fidgeting with it. A cloth face covering should fit over your child’s nostril and mouth and be secured under their chin. Keep away from any gaps on the sides by adjusting the mask’s fit so it is snug. Always check that your child can breathe simply when wearing the mask. When putting on your child’s mask, or when teaching your child find out how to put on their own mask, be sure you or your child always wash your palms first.
5. Enlist your child’s assist
Giving children a job or responsibility will help them feel empowered and more in control of a situation. Designate your child as the family “mask monitor.” When leaving the house, have them check that everyone has their mask available. You can ask older siblings to assist youthful siblings by reminding them to wear their mask.
It can additionally assist to maintain your child’s arms busy when wearing a mask. For example, if you are in a grocery store, ask your child that will help you carry an item. This may also help forestall them from touching their mask.
6. Practice wearing a mask
Everytime you introduce something new into your child’s environment, it may help to apply and slowly get them comfortable with the change. Earlier than bringing your child out in public in a mask, follow placing on the mask and wearing it for brief intervals around your home. You may look in the mirror to clarify how it ought to fit and begin with just just a few minutes.
7. Mannequin healthy habits: Wear your own mask!
Among the best ways to encourage your child to wear a face mask is to wear one yourself. “Children are always watching and listening,” says Faubel. “They will discover how you talk about face masks and the way you react when wearing one – and they’ll comply with your lead.”
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