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When the Covid-19 pandemic started last Spring, we had no idea we’d be ending 2020 social distancing and wearing masks. Children have been asked to comply with these precautions for months, and it isn’t always easy for parents to get them to do so. While even as adults we may grow tired of checking for masks before leaving the house and being sure we put them on before getting out of the car at our destination, mask wearing has been deemed very beneficial for stopping the spread of the Coronavirus.

Follow these tips to help your child become more cooperative with wearing masks!

#1: Play Pretend

Pretend play can be great for role-playing social situations before you child experiences them. Put a mask on your child’s baby doll or stuffed animal. Ask your child to help put the mask on and take it off. Narrate out loud the sequence of events to teach your child what he or she can expect when it’s their turn. For example, “He’s going to the store, so let’s put the mask on first, and when he leaves, it’s time to take it off!”. Social stories (short stories about a social scenario depicted with simple pictures) are a great way to prepare your child ahead of time as well!

#2: Focus on the Positive

Use positive language when talking about wearing masks either directly to your children or when around them. They’ll pick up on this and will be more likely to share your attitude about taking important precautions! With older kids feel free to have an honest conversation about the pandemic and how wearing masks can protect us and help prevent the spread of the virus. When your child is out and wearing his or her mask, positive and specific praise can go along way. For example, you can tell your child, “wow, you are doing a great job keeping your mask on!”.

#3: Give your Child Choices

Children can act out or refuse when they feel like they do not have control over a situation. Consider giving your child a role in mask-wearing. Go to the store together and let him or her choose a mask with a fun print they like! I’ve seen everything from a shark mouth to unicorns! Show them choices and allow your child to choose the mask he or she wants to wear each day.

Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist

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