Mask wearing at school during COVID-19

Last Modified: 8/17/2020

mask wearing at school

This post was written by Jalyssa Kessler, BA, CCLS, CPST, certified child life specialist, Parkview Health.

Most schools across the country have started or will be starting the fall semester soon. That means students attending onsite will undoubtedly be wearing masks most of the day. For some children, this new addition to their wardrobe may not be a big deal, but for others, it could be a struggle.

Wearing a face covering for most of the day could prove uncomfortable and scary for some children, especially at first. To make the transition a little smoother, here are a few helpful hints on how to make mask-wearing more fun and less intimidating for your child:

Buying a mask
  • Let your child choose: It may seem simple but let your child choose what they want their mask to look like. Letting them select the color, fabric and pattern will help them feel in control.
  • At the store: Let your child help buy their mask. Allow them to place their item on the register belt, hand it to the cashier or scan the barcode. Permit them to play a role in purchasing their mask. It will help them take ownership, feeling more like it’s “their mask”.
Making a mask
  • Make your own: If you choose to make your masks, try letting your child get involved. Allow them to draw the pattern. If they are older, they could assist with cutting out the pattern and sewing it. The bigger the role they play, the more it will feel like “their mask”.
  • Toy takeover: You could also make it more fun by creating masks for your child’s toys and stuffed animals. By using items from around the house you’re encouraging them to use their imagination when making masks.
Mask wearing
  • Proper technique: It’s important to teach your child to wear their mask properly. Be sure their nose, chin and mouth are fully covered and the loops around their ears are comfortable.
  • Practice: Be sure to have your child practice wearing their mask at home, in short bursts, while doing various fun activities. Extend the time they wear it daily until they are comfortable wearing it a full school day.
  • Super student: Remind your student that superheroes wear masks! Make your child a complete superhero outfit, or just a cape, and let them be a superhero while they get used to the idea of wearing their mask.
  • A family affair: Get the whole family involved. Parents and other family members should set a good example by wearing their masks.
Masks help others
  • Helping hands: Kids love to help others, so be sure to tell your child how they are helping others from getting sick by wearing their mask. Keep in mind, children are observant and may ask why some people are not wearing masks. Remember to answer using child-friendly language.
  • Big kids club: Your child may wonder why children under 2 years old aren’t wearing masks. You can simply tell them they are too little, it’s up to us to help protect them by wearing our masks.

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