Wearing a mask in public may be new for children. To help reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID 19), the CDC is recommending everyone wear a face mask (not including children under 2). It is a good idea to acclimate children to face masks before asking them to wear one. Wear them around the house together. Make it part of a superhero “costume” and explain the similarities.
Children are often scared of masks, you may have seen this at Halloween. This is a normal fear for children. According to Roberto Olivardia, from Harvard Medical School, this fear is commonly known as “maskaphobia.” Children don’t always understand that a person is beneath the mask, so help introduce masks slowly in a comfortable setting. Read more tips on helping with face masks at this NY Times article: Children May Be Afraid of Masks. Here’s How to Help.
Another suggestion to help children understand the importance of face masks by reading stories. Reading together can help reduce anxieties and provide answers to questions children may have. At Dr. Day Care, one way that we help to model appropriate behaviors is with social stories.
We love this face mask story by Autism Little Learners. Download your copy by visiting Wearing a Face Mask Story for Children. There are also similar stories, such as the Seeing People Wearing Masks Story download and a video of someone reading the face mask story.
Stories about the changes children may be experiencing are also helpful at this time. Read the Social Story: My school changed after COVID-19 with children. Adapt it for your child or your classroom to help children make connections.
Social stories are a great way to communicate with children about sensitive topics.
Is your child scared of face masks? Have you asked them to wear one yet? What tips or advice can you share? Let us know in the comments!
- Social Story: My school changed after COVID-19
- Social Story: Masks and Gloves – also includes activity suggestions!
- Social Story: My School is Closed Right Now
- Social Story: My Parent is a Safekeeper
- Video: Time to Come In, Bear: A Children’s Story About Social Distancing
- Video: We Wear Masks – A Social Story about the coronavirus
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Faylinn Byrne says
My favorite part about this article was when you explained that you can read stories to children to help them understand the importance of wearing a face mask. My daughter is immunocompromised and I am really worried that during the flu and allergy season she might get sick, so I need to find masks that could work for us. It will be great to figure out what services are out there so I can show her and she can pick exactly what she would like.
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Brooke Hayward says
Perfect timing for this post! Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in-depth information you offer. You’ve really covered up almost all the possible tips that every parent should follow for teaching their child. Worth sharing! Please do continue sharing updates! Thanks!
Taylor Hicken says
I liked it when you mentioned wearing masks together at home and make it like a superhero costume to practice your kids to wear them. My child always refuses every time I want him to wear one as he is uncomfortable in it. I think it would be great if I custom made masks according to his favorite superhero so that I can get him to wear it.
Emily Bennette says
I liked that you pointed out that you could tell kids that it’s their superhero mask. It might be smart to get some fun masks for them to wear. It seems like if there are some fun masks they will be more open to wearing them. Personally, I would want to get some durable masks.
Botany Daycare says
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Rebecca Compton says
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amel snv says
Thank you for this blog it help me and to my child.
Eli Richardson says
I’m glad you talked about how to help children adapt to COVID-19’s safety regulations. In my opinion, we need to keep using face masks to help protect ourselves from the virus. I believe it’s our responsibility to teach our kids how to wear a mask and why they must do it! Thanks for your advice on starting slowing when teaching our kids about wearing a face mask.