The CDC recently released guidelines for re-opening schools in the fall, and it includes the recommendation that children above the age of 2 should wear masks.
Many adults have a hard time wearing facemasks, so asking kids to wear masks may seem like a daunting task. Below are five tips to help create a face mask (minimal sewing skills needed) for your child that will make mask wearing a more comfortable and appealing experience.
- Get them involved in the process
Does your child love Batman or unicorns? Find five different fabric options—cotton or bamboo fabric are the softest—and let them choose the three they like best. Once the fabric is chosen, use a tape measure to measure from the bridge of the nose to the bottom of the chin, and from ear to ear. If your child doesn’t like the feeling of the elastic behind their ears, consider a tie-on design with fabric loops or a style that goes over the head.
There are easy tutorials on YouTube to walk you through creating a face mask with, or without, a sewing machine. Having a custom-fit mask for your child can help make mask wearing more comfortable.
- Create Multiple Masks
Face masks lend themselves to getting dirty after one or two wears, so creating multiple masks and washing them between wears will help your child avoid an aversion due to the mask becoming smelly or grimy. Plus, having multiple masks gives your child a choice, so they will view the mask as more of an accessory than a burden.
- Practice Makes Perfect (At Home)
Remember how awkward you felt wearing your face mask out in public the first time? Your kids are going to feel the same. Many parents have been going out to stores solo—leaving kids at home to avoid exposure—so while we may be comfortable wearing a face mask, at this point the masks may be an entirely new thing to your kids when they go back to school.
Try to get your kids used to wearing one by encouraging them to wear it in small increments at home. Start with as little as 10 seconds, and slowly increase. Make wearing a face mask a positive experience—try playing their favorite song or show while they wear it, or give them their favorite fidget toy—so that they associate a mask with something fun or positive.
It is more important to have short, frequent, positive experiences than it is for them to have negative longer experiences.
- Wide Open Spaces
Once the kids master wearing a mask at home, try a quick walk around the block or going out in your backyard. These new places will have different stimuli than your home—so your child may not want to wear the mask as long—but celebrate any time your child will wear the mask outside the home.
Increase the time as your child becomes more comfortable wearing the mask.
- Celebrate Good Times
Any time that your child wears a mask is reason for celebration. Have a consistent reward system in place every time your child wears it. A specific activity or toy that the child is rewarded with each successful time is the perfect way to build motivation.
Image courtesy of iStock.