Wear your own mask and keep a positive attitude. If you are going to the store and want your child to wear a mask, be sure to put yours on first.
“Attitude and role modeling of the parent really affects the majority of a child’s behavior,” explains Pottkotter. “If the parent has a positive approach (even if you don’t agree with it), the child will be more likely follow suit and do the same.”
“Kids tend to like superheroes and superheroes wear a mask!” says Pottkotter.
It is important for children to view mask-wearing as fun and important and not a punishment. It is one of the best things they can do to help stop the spread of germs. Children also can understand that we are wearing masks to protect others, just like superheroes protect others.
Children should have masks that fit snugly around the child’s face to prevent less germs from spreading. It should cover the nose to chin and fit comfortably around the ears.
“A fun activity is to have the children pick out fabrics as there are so many to choose from. If you’re a seamstress, you can sit down and sew them but there are easy, no-sew ways to make a mask, too. It can be a fun experiment,” says Pottkotter.
Another tip is to have a different fabric from the front to the back. This helps children distinguish which is the front and which is the back.
“Donning” and “doffing” are typical words in a business where employees put on and remove work-related protective gear. “They can be great vocabulary words to teach kids,” says Pottkotter.
To properly don (put on) a mask:
To properly doff (take off) a mask:
“You want to teach your kids that masks are just for you and are not to be shared. They should be stored in a safe place,” says Pottkotter
Another tip is to have two bins in your laundry room: one marked for dirty masks and one marked for clean masks. These makes it easy to know which masks are contaminated and which are available for use.
“It’s so important that we don’t put the burden on teachers to teach your kids how to wear a mask,” says Pottkotter. “They should be familiar and used to wearing them before school begins.”
After teaching the reasons why we wear masks, setting a good example, and showing the proper procedures, it is time to practice. “Maybe just start with wearing them for 10 seconds,” says Pottkotter.
As children adjust to wearing the mask, gradually increase the time. Once they are fairly acclimated, have them try reading with their mask on or doing homework for five minutes. Continue to increase the time and vary the activities until they are largely adjusted to mask-wearing.
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