Whether you are pro or con mask wearing, the fact is that it is proven to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 is spread primarily by droplets, which are stopped significantly by a person wearing a mask. This is true even before symptoms show up and after someone is asymptomatic. A mask also prevents the non-infected person from inhaling droplets.
While there are different types of masks that are more or less effective depending on the filtration, when both people are wearing a mask, the risk of transmission is much lower.
Agree or disagree about any of the mandates or recommendations put in place by city, county or state officials, we just can’t deny that wearing a mask does help and is highly beneficial until a vaccine or some other preventative measure is put in place.
You can read more about recent recommendations and guidelines on the CDC website. This will provide you with several pages of information on how to prevent getting sick, how it spreads and much more.
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The New Environment
Helping our kids through the changes and the weirdness they experience as they venture out with you into a changed environment can be hard for them to understand and cope with. Having them wear a mask and seeing others wearing a mask can make it even more difficult.
I was rather worried about taking my oldest to the store with me when I had no other choice but for him to tag a long, because of these things.
How would I keep a four-year-old from playing with or taking off his mask because it was too uncomfortable? Would he be anxious about the way the store was set up? Would he understand that we needed to do our best to keep our distance from other people? And how would I keep him from touching everything!?
3 Ways to Make Mask Wearing Fun
Be mindful of how you talk about mask wearing
Think like a kid – everyone is a superhero now!
Decorate your mask
Be mindful of how you talk about mask wearing
Our children are little sponges and they are listening and watching everything we do. Take for example our one-year-old who went through a climbing on everything phase, monkey see, monkey do, as I explain in the post about how to stop your children from climbing.
While this is important for our children’s growth and development, as parents, it is also our responsibility to be mindful of what we say and do around them. These things can be extremely influential in how they will cope with a particular situation.
Over the months-time that COVID-19 has become more and more prevalent and caused us to change our prior habits and routines, we have explained things to our oldest to help him with understanding the changes.
For example, when we transitioned to myself and my husband working from home and the boys staying at home and the oldest no longer going to preschool. Or my oldest not going to the grocery store with me. Certain things have prompted us to talk about COVID-19.
Taking these opportunities to explain the changes and why the changes are being mad is important for them to understand what is going on. How we explain the changes is the most important piece of the puzzle.
When you talk to your children about any change keep these two things in mind:
- Talk positive about the situation. Negative comments can cause push back from your child when you need them to comply to things such as mask wearing. Say “We want to keep ourselves and each other safe, so that we do not get sick.” Vs “this is just a dumb rule we have to follow”
- Use words that they can understand. Using a word such as “virus” may not be understandable, however saying “sick” is something that they can relate to and better understand.
Because we have talked with our oldest son about the virus, when he asks why he can’t do something and it’s because of the virus, conversations are very simple.
We will say something like, “remember, there is a sickness right now” or “remember, the corona?” We call COVID-19 “the corona”, it’s something our oldest started saying so we use it to relate and speak his “language”.
I don’t want you to think that I am saying that you shouldn’t share your honest thoughts with your kids. You most definitely should – that’s what makes us all individuals and creates this beautiful world. So do explain to them in a positive way about why you may disagree with changes or requirements that are occurring. This is a great time to explain that we are always learning more and are able to have our own opinions and beliefs.
Think like a kid – everyone’s a superhero now!
I can’t take any credit for this, my oldest has gone to the store very minimally with me, but the very first time we went I had to explain that he was to wear a mask. We went through the explanation and then said, “stupid corona”, (calling things stupid is not something we allow in our house, but we’ve made an exception for COVID-19), and then when we got to the store, I helped him get his mask on as we got out of the car.
Not even before I could stand up after helping him get it as fitted on his little face as I could and reminded him a million times to try and not touch it, he says,
“Mom! We are all superheroes!”
And you know what?! He is so right!
He’s not only right because we were wearing masks like superheroes, but because we were wearing a mask, we were hero’s for taking a measure to not infect anyone else if we happen to be asymptomatic.
My entire perspective changed in that one little optimistic comment. Why not let him think he is a superhero? Why not make this fun rather than be a hassle?
Not only did his idea help him in keeping his mask on and not touching it, but it also gave me a way to help him remember to keep his distance from others. I told him that anyone without a mask must be the bad guys, so we should stay really far away from them.
Look, it can be a serious juggling act to take your kid to the store, let alone keep them a safe distance from people and have them wear an annoying mask.
My oldest is really pretty good at the store, but even still, in the environment today, I try to avoid taking him. Either way, finding a positive spin on this really makes a difference.
Decorate your mask
As mask wearing has become more of the norm, several different designs have come out. A reminder that not every mask is created equal.
Whether your child is reluctant to wear a mask or thinks that they are a superhero, having them decorate their mask can be a fun way to help them with wanting to wear it.
Since the recommendation is to use cotton fabric, this makes decorating them easy. We used Fabric Markers to still allow the fabric to breathe, verses painting them which could cause the fabric to not ventilate as well.
This is just a fun activity for your kids in and of itself and then helps encourage them to want to wear their mask.
Everyone is frustrated and tired in one way or another with the COVID-19 virus. As we know it, it will only continue to get worse until we find a cure and/or learn more about it to be able to take preventative measures for slowing the spread.
Helping to keep each other safe, especially our children, when you have to be in public is just one way that you can help.
Stay mindful of how you talk to your children, make it fun, and let them personalize their masks so that it’s just a little easier to cope with.
Share with us how you are helping your kids cope with the virus by commenting below.
We all know it isn’t easy, but supporting each other can help!