Face Mask Wearing for Kids – Tips & tricks On Encouraging Mask Wearing For Young Children
Article by Katie Souliere, RN
Ottawa Public Health
Ottawa Public Health recommends that children over the age of two wear a face mask when staying two metres away from others may not be possible. This can be a challenge when our kids refuse to even get dressed some days!
OPH knows that convincing younger children to wear a mask in public may not always be feasible. Kids are notorious for their germ spreading habits, such as nose-picking, booger wiping and eye rubbing. So how can we as parents encourage this new behaviour?
Kids watch, listen and learn. Explain the importance of mask wearing in simple terms to help them understand why wearing a mask is important. Allow them to ask questions and express their feelings.
Consider letting your little ones choose their face mask pattern and/or colour. Children like to feel independent and they like to make their own choices.
Include face masks in imaginative play:
Young children are amazingly imaginative. Include a few non-medical cloth masks in their playtime and see what they come up with.
Adding masks to their environment will help them become more comfortable with the look and feel of them.
Set an example:
When heading out in public, show your kids how you put on your mask, explain why you are doing it – to protect those around you. Be a role model of the behaviours you are hoping for them to follow. Kids absorb information quickly and mirror behaviours they see, especially those of their caregivers.
The world can feel scary to young children when everyone around them is wearing a mask. It can take time and some getting used to.
Here are a few resources to help you navigate this difficult time:
Parenting in Ottawa Facebook Page
Ottawa Public Health Website
Canadian Pediatric Society resources for COVID-19 and your child
CHEO: Kids and Masks