Five Tips to Acclimate Your Child to Wearing a Mask

child wearing mask

Kids can be tricky. Sometimes they listen intently other times you wonder if they even hear you. So, it’s no surprise that getting kids to wear a mask these days can be frustrating. We asked parents to give us their best tips to get kids to wear a mask – maybe even enjoy it! Keep reading for their top five tips.

Model the Behavior 
Kids are more likely to wear a mask if they see you wearing one. When you’re getting ready to leave the house make a point to show your kids that you’re putting on your mask. The more you show them the more they’ll realize putting on a mask is just as important as putting on the rest of their clothes.

"This is a challenging time for all of us - adults and children alike,” said Emily Stone, behavioral specialist for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. “It is important that we as adults be a force for calm in the lives of our children; if they see us wearing masks and respecting social distancing policies and protocols, they are more likely to willingly follow through with these expectations themselves."  

Explain the “Why”
Kids may not fully understand the depth of the pandemic, but they understand why caring for others is important.  Using simple language and positive phrasing, explain that a lot of people can get sick right now and wearing a mask protects them and others from germs. If you want tips on how to talk to your kids about the pandemic check out this article.

Use Positive Reinforcement 
One parent requires her kids to wear their masks when using electronic devices at home as a way to associate a positive experience with mask-wearing. Other parents have suggested fun day trips to the zoo or ice cream shop if the kids agree to wear their masks. Eventually, kids understand that masks are needed when leaving the house.

Pro Tip: give kids “mask breaks” as often as possible, especially in the beginning, so they can take time to get used to wearing them. Teach your kids how to put masks on and off themselves to encourage independence and ownership.

Make It Fun
Parents we spoke to have made a game out of mask-wearing. Some use pretend play such as dressing up as a doctor or nurse while others tell their kids it’s time to put their superhero masks on. If your kids are younger consider putting a mask on their stuffed animals.

Let Them Choose a Mask
Kids love getting to pick out their belongings, even a mask. Ask them what kind of fabric they’d like – do they want patterns, characters or the ability to design their own. You can find all kinds of fun masks online specifically for children. Additionally, you’ll find online tutorials on how to make a mask if your kids want to take ownership of their mask creation.

Pro Tip: Put a breakaway lanyard through the ear areas of a mask so that if kids take it off they won’t lose it.   

Did you know that the Y is the largest provider of licensed childcare in Chester County? If you’re interested in our childcare or early learning programs, click here.