Along with washing hands, using hand sanitizer, and social distancing, wearing a face mask is one of the best things your children can do to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that most children who are 2 years of age and older should wear a mask. (If you think wearing a mask could pose a risk to your child’s health, be sure to check with a pediatrician beforehand.) Unfortunately, it can be difficult to convince children—especially younger ones—to put on a mask and keep it on for extended periods of time. That’s why we’ve put together the following tips for how to get your kids used to wearing a mask.
Explain What’s Going On
Before asking your children to put on masks, it’s a good idea to have a discussion about why it’s so important to wear them. Make sure to provide an easy-to-understand, age-appropriate explanation, and be prepared to answer some questions. Try to put a positive spin on things and explain that by wearing a mask, they’ll be helping to protect their family members, friends, and other members of the community, kind of like how a superhero would.
Practice Wearing Masks at Home
Your children typically don’t need to wear masks when they’re at home—it’s generally only necessary to wear them when out in public or around people who aren’t a part of your household. However, teaching your kids how to put on and wear masks in the comfort of your own home may make it easier for them to wear masks in public when needed. To make the experience more fun and less scary, you could encourage your children to pretend to be doctors or nurses, or have them place masks on their favorite dolls or stuffed animals. You may also want to wear a mask yourself to show them that it’s OK.
Make Sure Their Masks Fit Correctly
Masks aren’t always the comfiest thing to begin with, but if they keep riding up or sliding down your nose, they can be extra annoying. Check that your children’s masks fit the way they’re supposed to—they should be fairly snug against their faces while still being breathable.
Choose Kid-Friendly Masks
Since the pandemic started, manufacturers and DIYers have started producing masks in an almost endless variety of designs and colors. Your children will be more likely to keep their masks on if they’re proud to show them off, so let them help choose the style. Maybe you can even find ones featuring their favorite TV show character, animal, or sports team. Or, you could invest in plain white cloth masks and let your kids decorate them using fabric markers.
Keep Their Hands Busy
If your children tend to fidget, there’s a good chance that they’ll end up sliding their masks down or removing them entirely, or at the very least contaminating them with germs that they’ve picked up from public surfaces. To prevent this from happening, you can try giving them something that will keep their hands busy. When you’re in a waiting room, for example, you can provide them with a coloring book and some crayons. And when you’re in a store, you can assign them the important responsibility of carrying a certain item throughout the aisles and all the way to the cash register.
Be Generous With Praise
Children love to be told that they’re doing a good job, and positive reinforcement can do wonders to help keep them on the right track. So, from time to time, remember to tell your kids how proud you are of them. You can praise them for how well they’re listening and following directions, and for how maturely they’re acting.
Comfort Them When Needed
It’s only natural for children to get upset and frustrated about having to wear masks. After all, even adults feel that way from time to time, and they have a better understanding of what’s going on in the world. If your kids start getting agitated or crying, take some time to soothe them and reassure them that everything is alright. You can also try telling them a story or a joke, or playing a game with them—anything to get their minds off of the masks for a little while.
At-Home Healthcare When You Need It Most
If your children are having a hard time adjusting to wearing masks and you need medical treatment for them or for yourself, you’re probably worried about visiting a clinic or an emergency room. Understandably so—waiting rooms can be a hotbed of germs on a normal basis, and especially so during the ongoing crisis.
Luckily, you don’t need to leave your house and travel to an outside provider to get the care you need. DispatchHealth is pleased to provide mobile healthcare services for approximately the same price you would expect to pay at an urgent care clinic. We can treat almost everything that an ER can, and we’ve taken steps to protect our patients and our mobile care teams from COVID-19, including wearing protective eyewear, surgical masks, and gloves (as well as N95 respirator masks, gowns, and shoe covers when we’re treating individuals with COVID-19 and/or respiratory symptoms).
Contact DispatchHealth today to request a visit—you can do so by phone, through our mobile app, or on our website.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
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