Keeping a mask on your child may be the biggest obstacle of 2020 yet. Kids are naturally prone to tugging on their masks, pulling them below their noses or throwing them on the floor.
Dr. Stan Spinner, vice president and chief medical officer at Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care, offers his advice on talking about the pandemic with your favorite little humans and getting them to keep their mask on.
Not surprisingly it comes down to having honest conversations about the pandemic.
Spinner said parents can share the importance of wearing a mask in different ways based on the age of their child.
“First of all, it is vital that the parent set the example by wearing a face covering or mask themselves every time they are around people,” he said.
It is easy to understand that if your kids see you wearing a face covering, they will more likely do the same.
“For the younger child, the parent can tell their child that putting on a face covering is like being a superhero, and a superhero always does everything they can to protect everyone they are around, including themselves,” said Spinner. “For older children, explaining how important it is for people to help keep others safe, and wearing a face covering any time they are around others will help to keep everyone safe from the germ that is making so many people sick.”
For an adolescent, Spinner said, “they should be told that wearing a face covering protects others from being exposed to the virus, and when others wear a face covering around them, it protects them and their loved ones from potentially getting infected.
Dr. Spinner advises telling adolescents that it is everyone’s duty to help protect each other from infection, regardless of what they may see or hear from some people who choose not to care.
Also, consider buying or making a face covering for your younger child in a color they like. If the mask fits your child’s face properly, they are more likely to keep it on. Here are tips for finding a mask for your child and making sure it fits well.
How can parents discuss with their kids the importance of cautions during the virus?
“I emphasize the very key point of being a good role model and following the recommended precautions,” Spinner said. “Explain how the virus may not make some people very sick, but it can be very dangerous for others. Many people may get the virus and may not even know it, but they can spread it to others when they are together and some of those people can get very sick and may need to be in a hospital,” he added.
When discussing the virus with older children Spinner said, “they should know that the virus has killed many people and will continue to do so as long as people do not take the necessary precautions by always wearing their mask, washing their hands frequently, and staying away from other people as much as possible.”
Here are more stories on health and kids during the pandemic: