Tips for success and easing anxiety
We’re all getting used to wearing those masks. And over the past few months you may have sheltered your child from going places where mask wearing is mandatory. So now what do you do as they get ready to go to school- and wear that mask all day long? As a seasoned early childhood educator, I’m invested in your child’s well-being. And I’ve put together these tips to make mask wearing easier for your young child.
Choosing the mask
Can your child pick out their mask? If they have a say in what they are wearing, they are more likely to be excited about wearing it. Browsing online is easier than browsing in a store these days, so do a search and give your child a chance to see the variety of masks out there. Even if you can’t order one today, just giving your child a chance to look at a variety of child friendly masks will help take away the scary element.
Consider accessories- There will be ‘mask breaks’ throughout your child’s day. Consider adding a fanny pack to your child’s wardrobe. (Did you save yours from the 70’s??) This will give your child a clean spot to put their mask when they are outside and an easy access to grabbing it to put back on.
There are also some cool lanyards out there that hook onto your child’s mask. Look for the break-away ones that will come detached when you give it a good yank- so there’s no choking hazard. These lanyards also allow your child to keep their mask close and clean when having a mask break. Google child mask lanyards for lots of choices.
Getting comfortable Seeing Masks
Spend some time desensitizing your child to masks. You want your child to have experienced that ‘people wear masks and I am still safe’. So, have your child see people in masks in public, like at the grocery store. Have them spend time with people they know who are wearing masks, such as their family members or close friends.
Getting Comfortable Wearing Masks
Wearing a mask gets easier as you get used to it. Pick times throughout the day to practice wearing a mask- and make it fun. Motivate your child with a fun activity paired with mask wearing. “Let’s walk around the block in our mask, and then let’s have a snack.” Motivate your child to wear a mask during a fun activity like playing a game or watching a favourite show.
Your Attitude Counts!
As a parent you are dealing with a lot of anxiety here! So, this is where you’ll need to draw on your inner actor and put a smile on your face. Your attitude toward these masks will make a huge impact on how your child will cope when wearing one. Of course, you are going to be understanding and listen when your child talks about discomfort in wearing the mask. But comments about your child being in danger, or that the ‘masks are ridiculous’ will only make your child more anxious. Keep it light. Keep it fun. And check that you are having those anxious conversations out of earshot of your young child.