The New Normal:
The last few months have brought some radical changes in our lifestyles. The New normals have been defined and we have been compelled to revisit our actions. We all have been trying our best to adapt to the new guidelines ruling our lives in this COVID era. While sanitizers and face masks have become our constant companions, social distancing is something we need to comply with, even in the longer run.
Today, CDC recommends covering your nose and mouth with a face mask/cloth cover when you venture out. Wearing cloth face coverings reduces the transmission of coronavirus via respiratory droplets. But, it has been a real challenge for many parents to make children wear cloth covers or face masks.
Should all children wear face masks?
CDC [Ref1] insists that children under the age of 2 years, should not wear a face mask, as that can result in troubled breathing and choking. But when you take children to places like parks, grocery stores, clinics, malls, they should wear their face masks. However, they need not wear any mask at home (unless you have someone infected right at your home) and while running or doing any physical activity that increases the breathing rate.
There has been a consistent parental concern that children do not wear masks. While it might be okay for older children to use face covers as an added accessory, it isn’t the same for the younger ones. Children do get anxious seeing people in masks, as this is something new for them. Children love to see the friendly smile of a person, and hence when a face is partly covered with a mask, they are bound to get anxious at the start. And this is where our role comes in.
How to help children wear face masks?
My 5-year old has been wearing a face mask for a long time now. Initially, it was due to Air Quality concerns and now due to the spread of COVID-19. But, what to do if your child is scared of wearing face masks?
1. Talk and explain the necessity:
It is important to answer the question, as in, why do they need to wear the mask? Let them know that there are germs in the air which can make them sick. Just the way, kids have been taught to sneeze into the elbow, masks are important to keep them safe. Help them understand about coronavirus in an age-appropriate manner.
2. Get them some interesting face covers:
Having some interesting cloth face masks will certainly make them excited. Ensure that the cloth face covers are made up of soft fabric and are comfortable with the right fit for your child. You can check out some cool customizable kids’ face masks , wherein you have the choice to select the designs. Check them at Hoorag, as these face masks also have UPF30 protection (from UV rays), for the sensitive skin of children. And not just the design and protection, it can be worn in different ways as a face mask, beanie, headband, and more!
Isn’t that cool? Kids will love wearing these face covers for sure, and you’ll be a happy parent!
3. Be a role model:
Children imitate parents, that’s a proven fact, hence set an example by wearing the masks and being easy-going with them. Show your positive and comfortable side when you are wearing your face masks.
4. Make it fun:
We made wearing face covers fun. We do role plays, enacting as doctors, we draw humans with masks on their nose and mouth, we dance wearing them. And now, I see my boy making his avengers wear the masks, on the account that “safety is a priority” in this COVID phase. Kids understand the circumstances, all they need is reassurance and warmth when they are anxious. Comfort them while answering their questions.
5. Encourage them:
Encourage the baby steps that your child takes to overcome his fears. At times, children just need little encouragement and some practice to adopt this new normal of wearing a mask. You can incentivize them with hand tattoos, stickers, maybe a muffin, to keep them motivated.
Further, also ensure that kids are wearing the masks in the right way. The cloth should cover their nose and mouth. Avoid touching the mask again and again and also wash the cloth face mask after each use.
As more and more people have adopted wearing face covers now, children will gradually get used to them and not feel strange wearing the face mask.