Six Tips to Help Kids Learn to Wear a Face Covering

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Six Tips to Help Kids Learn to Wear a Face Covering

July 17, 2020

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Life looks different than it did a few months ago. Tables at restaurants are more spaced out, people are taking more walks, and oftentimes you can only see the top half of people’s faces!

The Centers for Disease Control recommends all people 2 years of age and older wear a cloth face covering in public settings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Now is a great time to start talking to your children about face coverings and to offer opportunities to practice using them in daily life.

Face coverings are also a part of the operation modifications of the Children’s Museum of South Dakota and many other businesses and organizations throughout the community.

School officials are currently discussing using face coverings during in-person learning. Now is a great time to start talking to your children about face coverings and to offer opportunities to practice using them in daily life.

So how do you help kids learn to wear a face covering? Here are 6 tips:

1. Talk to your children: Explain to your child what face coverings do. They are a simple barrier to help prevent droplets from traveling in the air where other people can be exposed to them. Face coverings can help protect others because they keep our germs closer to our bodies.

2. Give children a choice: Find a covering your child wants to wear. Have your child choose a fun fabric or go a step further and have them decorate a plain mask with fabric markers and pens. Or, get matching fabric for fun. Above all, make sure the face covering fits properly.

3. See what they think: Have your child put on a mask and look in the mirror. Smile. And then frown. Does the top part of your face change when you can’t see the bottom half?

Ask your child what their feelings are. What does a mask feel like when you wear it?

Do you feel stronger or like you are wearing a disguise? Do you feel like you are hiding? Do you feel silly? Maybe you feel like a superhero!

Talking about and naming our feelings helps us process and learn how to respond to them.

Dinosaur and fawn plush wearing a dinosaur face covering
Get used to using a face covering by using one during play. Children can wear a face covering and also put one on their favorite stuffed animals or dolls.

4. Make it fun: Use a face covering during play. Children can wear a face covering and also put one on their favorite stuffed animals or dolls. You could show them a picture of Max, one of the dinosaurs on our outdoor prairie. He wears one, too!

5. Be a role model: As a parent or caregiver, wear a face covering yourself. Show children the correct way to wear one by securely covering your nose and mouth and stretching it from ear to ear.

Talk to them about how to remove your face covering safely by folding the outside corners together and being careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.

If they have a friend who is learning how to wear a face covering, practice together. It can feel less intimidating and it’s a great way to make the process more fun, too!

6. Practice wearing a face covering: Start small, maybe 5 or 10 minutes around the house, and then slowly increase the amount of time.

When you are ready to practice outside of the home, you could come to the prairie at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota! When everyone is wearing a face covering it can feel more comfortable and give you more confidence in trying something new.

Healthy habits show we care

Wearing a face covering is just one of the habits we can practice to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Staying home when we don’t feel well, washing hands frequently, and maintaining 6 feet of physical distancing can help, too.

Animatronic baby t. rex wearing a face covering
Max T. Rex on our outdoor prairie wears a face covering.

All these healthy habits are a great way to care for ourselves and others. If you have tips for helping children learn to wear a face covering, we’d love to hear them. Drop us a line!

More resources

Whether your child is hesitant to wear a mask or is looking forward to being a superhero, the following articles offer good insight and help in navigating this new normal:

 

Looking for a fun face covering for kids (or adults!) to wear?