Many parents are uncertain about how to get their kids to wear masks, what kind of mask they should be buying and how to wash them safely. In Australia, any child under 12 does not have to wear a mask. Children under two years should not be wearing one as they have a higher risk of suffocation with masks and it’s a “consideration” for all other children.
Children 12 and over should particularly wear a mask outside when a one-metre distance from others cannot be guaranteed and there is widespread transmission in the area.
Encourage your kid to wear a mask
Using play or “Make it into a game” to get your kid familiar with face masks, and also reduce anxiety! Children learn through play! So this can be a great way to help your kid to feel more comfortable and explore feelings about face masks. Just don’t forget to use a clean mask when you’re playing.
Check out these play ideas from Raising Children:
- Make up songs about face masks
- Make up a superhero persona for themselves
- Dress up your kid’s favourite toys in a face mask
- Draw a picture of family members wearing face masks
- Decorate a mask with stickers
- Choose a mask they like with their favorite superhero or character
Choosing a comfortable mask
Kid’s face masks must be comfortable! You can choose masks that have pleats to conform to the face that holds up the nose area, this can make it more breathable. Adjustable features such as ear loops, ties or a metal nose bridge may also help!
Comfort should be one of parents’ priorities when buying a face mask. The other important factor is to find one that fits your kid’s face well which helps to prevent them from fidgeting with it. If you are looking for face masks for these school holidays, you can check out the options at shops like Chemist Warehouse, Etsy or Paragon Tools.
What to do if your child doesn’t want to wear a face mask
The first thing to do is to listen to your kid! This will help you to understand why they don’t want to wear a mask. Once you find out what your starting point is, you can then decide what you have to work with. If your kid is not able to tell you exactly why they don’t want to wear it, you will need to go with a trial and error approach and also based on what you know from past experience.
We need to make every effort with our kids to wear masks. One of the best ways is to know what motivates your child! For example, you can let your child choose their own mask, there are plenty of styles and colours to choose from.
Practice makes perfect
Just like you have to remind their child to wash their hands, you will need to remind them about the need of wearing a mask. Get them to practice wearing it, adjusting it correctly before leaving the house. It may take some time for your kid to get used to it, but practice makes perfect!