How to Encourage Children to Wear a Face Mask During COVID-19?
When the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak first made its presence known, hardly anyone out of the medical field gave it a second thought. But now that it is in our very own backyard, we have no choice but to grapple with its larger effects on our lives.
The life-threatening complications of COVID-19 are reason enough to worry about your family’s well-being. But educating your children about the dangers of the disease brings added stress to the table. From explaining the unprecedented situation to encouraging safety practices, it’s critical to find ways to keep your family safe from harm.
One of the trickiest parts of this aspect is motivating your child to wear a face mask. Since it’s not a normal accessory, it can be difficult for kids to keep it on longer than a few minutes. But given its effect on public health, it’s essential that they get used to the practice. This is especially crucial when you get them ready to interact with other kids or prepare them to start their school in the future.
To help you along with this challenging task, here’s how you can encourage your children to wear a face mask during COVID-19.
How to Encourage Children to Wear a Face Mask
It Takes Explanation, Comfort, and a Lot of Patience
According to Health Canada, children over 2 years of age must wear protective coverings or face masks in public. This recommendation is highly critical, but it also seems unachievable to some parents.
It’s because it’s hard enough to teach your toddler to keep their clothes on or older children to keep their shoes clean. When you introduce an article of clothing that seems unfamiliar to them, their chances of keeping it on throughout an outing seem to be quite slim.
But even when the task seems unattainable, it’s not impossible. While it takes some effort and a lot of patience, the right approach can ensure that your children actively wear face masks whenever social distancing is not possible.
Introduce Some Fun Into the Activity
Whenever you are introducing your child to anything new, it’s important that you do so with an element of fun and engagement with it. From language to science, every aspect of education follows this approach to great success.
This also applies to wearing a face mask.
If you want your child to take the activity seriously, make sure that you are making it enjoyable for them. You can do so by getting matching face masks for them and their favorite toy, buying face masks with their favorite character on them or making a fun activity out of who wears their mask the longest.
These aspects can help your child participate in wearing a mask without thinking of it as a chore. As a result, it can make the process easier for you.
Lead by Example and Wear a Face Mask Yourself
Children often look up to older members of their family to understand social behavior. This is why, if you are soft-spoken, your child is more likely to have the same tone. Similarly, if you are averse to any activity, your kid might also follow into your footsteps to fit into the world as they know it.
This particular aspect can help you a lot while teaching your child to wear a mask.
By simply wearing a mask whenever you go out and keeping it on whenever you step back into your home, you can show your kid how the activity is as necessary as wearing their shoes outside.
If you visit a public place with them, you can double down on this approach by keeping your mask on at all times and not touching your face.
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Test Their Restraint in a Safe Space
Even when you have made matching masks, decorated them with comic book favorites, or shown a great adherence to the practice yourself, your child may take some time before they are used to wearing a face mask.
That’s where you need to take a careful approach.
To make sure that your child isn’t taking off their mask in public or touching it in a high-risk situation, encourage practice mask-wearing sessions at home. This ensures that your kid has ample time to get used to the feeling of properly covering their mouth and nose with a mask. Even if they take their mask off and run to their room, you can rest assured in the fact that they aren’t compromising their safety or the health of others around them.
With a few practice rounds, you can ensure that your child is ready to wear a mask in public before you test their restraint out in the real world.
Don’t Be Afraid to Answer Questions
If your kids are old enough to ask about why they are not able to go to school or why they can no longer see their friends during the pandemic, explaining the key effects of COVID-19 is the best approach.
Here, you can also answer any questions that are related to wearing a mask.
By striking a balance between scientific facts and scary details, you can explain what is COVID-19, why it is spreading, and how we can keep ourselves and others safe from it. This practice shows your child that you trust them enough to tell them the truth, and gives them the responsibility to keep others safe.
As a result, you can encourage your child to wear their mask in order to show their responsibility in a challenging time.
Why Children Need to Wear Face Masks in the First Place
The novel coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets, which are released into the air when an infected person talks, breathes, sneezes, or coughs. When someone comes in contact with the virus discharged by these droplets, they can become infected with COVID-19.
According to data collected by the World Health Organization (WHO), over 40 percent of all coronavirus cases can be asymptomatic. This means that they show no symptoms of COVID-19 despite being infected. At the same time, they can inadvertently spread the virus to other people. This also holds true for kids, who are more likely to have asymptomatic infections than adult patients.
In Canada, only 8.5 percent of all known coronavirus cases consist of patients aged 19 or younger. But this doesn’t mean that most children are immune to COVID-19. According to some experts, it may just be due to kids showing mild symptoms or displaying no symptoms at all.
This means that when your child visits public places with you, they can act as asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 and spread the virus to anyone they come in contact with. This is why it’s important that you encourage your kid to wear a face mask whenever they aren’t able to maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from others.
As mentioned above, following this practice can take a while. But taking a fun, interactive, and engaging approach is sure to help you encourage your children to wear a face mask and help them see mask-wearing as a necessary practice instead of a tedious task.