Best Tips for Getting Your Kids to Wear Their Masks

Especially the wee ones!

Wearing a mask in indoor spaces is now the law. The City of Toronto has made it mandatory to wear face masks — and many neighbouring cities are following suit. It's now the new normal to wear face coverings when entering all public buildings, attractions, shopping malls, grocery stores, and when using public transit. Children under the age of 2, and those with cognitive or respiratory impairments should not wear masks.

While some kids may be eager to wear a mask because they think it's fun or cool — or they might like their new look as a medical superhero, other kids may be apprehensive or even scared. That may be the case for younger children who may not understand why someone's face is being hidden. Not seeing a smile or someone's complete face may be understandably troubling. But even young kids can learn that something that was scary at first is not so scary after all, and they will adapt. Give them time to get used to the mask and let them know that it's ok to be scared — use soothing words and give them plenty of reassurance.

You can also try these tips to encourage your kids to wear their mask:

▪ Show your child how you are wearing your mask so they don't feel alone. Practice at home before going out. The more you practice and wear masks, the more kids will get used to them. Eventually, they won't think about it. It will be as habitual as putting their shoes on.

▪ While wearing masks, look in the mirror and have conversations about it. Explain to your child: 'My mask protects you; and your mask protects me'.

▪ Allow your child to play with the mask so they can get used to it.

▪ Role play — pretend to be a superhero, a doctor or nurse.

▪ Put a mask on a favourite stuffed animal or doll.

▪ If you only have surgical masks, have the child colour or draw on theirs or add stickers, so it's more personalized and fun.

▪ Consider purchasing some cute, colourful cloth masks or ones with your child's favourite characters. Here's where to buy kids masks locally.

▪ Show your child pictures of other children wearing masks. Exchange 'best-friend' photos with other moms so they see their friends wearing them too.

▪ Draw a mask on your child's favourite book character.

▪ Encourage your child to draw pictures and put masks on the people, characters or animals in their art.

▪ Have a superhero outfit to wear along with their 'superhero mask' and let them dress up for their trip out of the house.

▪ Make sure it's comfortable! The comfier, the better and there's a better chance your child will wear their mask.

▪ Teach your children to feel safe and proud when they wear their masks — they are helping make the world safer.

Hopefully one of these tips will work!

Other important reminders:

Use positive reinforcement ad praise (maybe a small reward?) when kids wear their mask. Remember that parents are the most influential people in kids' lives, so grab your face masks and practice wearing them together before you head out. Children don’t need to wear a face mask when they’re outside as long as they can stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others. If social distancing is not possible outdoors, they should wear their mask. Remind them not to touch their face (even when wearing a mask) and to wash hands often (or use hand sanitizers). Dispose of masks properly and wash cloth masks regularly.

You can also find helpful information in this article -> Kids and Face Masks: What you Need to Know.

Have any other tips? Share below!

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