Getting kids to do anything they don’t really want to do can be a nightmare and nowhere is this truer than when it comes to wearing a mask. Let’s face it – none of us love them. They’re clammy, uncomfortable, warm and very rarely fit right. If your kid is anything like mine, then you might get lucky. I say no and he immediately does the opposite so it’s easy to reverse psychology him into wearing one. This is a great trick when the kids are still young enough to fall for it, but what do we do with our older kids and how do we get them to wear a mask and keep it on?
It goes without saying that anything you model, your kids, regardless of age, will follow. By this token it’s super important that you pay attention to the narrative you create around mask wearing. Pay attention to anytime you have a moan about the mask and your overall attitude to it. You might be inadvertently putting your kids off. The reality is love them or hate them, masks are essential for the health and wellbeing of everyone and the earlier we get our kids used to them, the better. One thing is for sure: masks are going to be around for the foreseeable future.
Bright colors, cool patterns, funny faces, slogans or even their favorite brand are all good ways to get kids to wear a mask. Depending on the age of your kids, brightly-colored masks with fun designs might be enough to persuade your little one to keep a mask on. If your kids are a bit older, pre-teen or even teen, then a little bit of bribery might be an option. Try buying them a mask from their favorite brand that they have to have or they’re just not cool. Kids of all ages and adults too like to wear things they find attractive so this is a big factor in keeping the mask on your kid.
Make sure it fits
This might seem obvious but you’d be surprised. The biggest issue I’ve found in trying to find a mask for my 3 year old is finding one that fits. Even the kids ones don’t seem to be well-fitted to little faces and an uncomfortable mask won’t be kept on very long. It’s difficult to gauge if a mask will fit or not and it’s probably best not to go trying them on in store. Ordering several masks from different vendors is a good idea and some vendors will even put an age size on masks so finding a good fit doesn’t have to be too much work.
If you can’t find it, make it
If you can’t find one that is the right design and fit, why not try making one? Better yet, get the kids involved and make the whole process an enjoyable arts and crafts activity. If kids are involved in the process from the start, the masks become an exciting project. Best of all, they are guaranteed to like the masks they design and they can be cut to the exact fit for their face.
Make it a game
For kids up to a certain age, introducing masks as a game is an excellent way to normalize wearing one. They can have competitions with their siblings and friends to see who can keep it on longest, or make a timing game to see how long they keep it on for. This gets them used to wearing masks indoors and encourages them to want to keep it on. For smaller kids, why not try playing put the mask on the teddy bear to get them used to masks in daily activities?
Getting kids to wear a mask is never going to be easy and for some kids, it may be harder than others. Seeing their adults all wearing masks can be a little intimidating and the new normal can be confusing. The best thing that we, as parents, can do is be open and honest with our kids about why they are needed and try to make masks as normal and as fun as possible.