Mastering the Mask
Wearing a mask in public has become our new normal. As adults, we know that the mask is not always comfortable or fun to wear, but is necessary to go places. How do we help our children understand the purpose of the mask and better tolerate it so we can go places during this time? Below are a few tips and resources that you can use to help your children with wearing their mask.
Make it part of your new routine
- A mask can seem scary at first, so wear the mask around your child to help them get used to it. Put it on and take it off in front of them. Acknowledge that you look different, but are still the same person under the mask.
- Allow your child to play with their mask to get more familiar and comfortable with it.
- Make small masks for stuffed animals or dolls so that your child’s favorite toy can also have a mask.
- Draw pictures of people or characters wearing masks.
- Have your child put a mask on in front of a mirror so they can see how their look changes.
Make it more comfortable
- Allow the child to pick out their mask. Find choices that are their favorite color, fun pattern, or favorite character.
- Find a mask that is a comfortable material. Check out this link for one company that is using comfortable materials to make their masks: https://curvysense.com/collections/face-masks
- If a child does not like the way a mask feels behind their ears, try sewing buttons onto a hat or headband. This way the elastic is not around their ears.
- If your child wears glasses, and their glasses keep fogging up, consider finding a mask with a cut out for their nose for a better fit. You can also add a pipe cleaner to a home-made mask to help the mask fit around the nose better.
- For children who better understand conversations when they can see someone’s lips moving as they talk, check out the Access Mask at https://bit.ly/2WsZkHF
- For kids who are having a lot of difficulty, use a visual timer at first to help them wear the mask for brief periods of time. As they get used to it, increase the time they are wearing the mask. Allow them to play a fun game while wearing the mask.
Use social stories
- Social stories are a great way to help you and your child talk about COVID-19 and wearing a mask. They can help your child better understand why a mask is needed and how to wear one. Check out these social stories:
- Understand Coronavirus: https://bit.ly/2Ubw4TB
- Understand wearing a mask: https://paautism.org/resource/wearing-mask-social-story/
**Keep in mind that the CDC does not recommend children under the age of 2 wear a mask. **
If you have questions regarding a mask for your specific child, please talk with his/her therapist. We are happy to help you find a solution!