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Tips for Helping Your Child Wear a Mask

Tips for Helping Your Child Wear a Mask

If you have young children, you may have noticed that getting them to wear a mask and keep it on can be hard, especially in Louisiana’s heat! But because wearing a mask can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, it’s important to help children understand why we’re wearing them and help them feel as comfortable as possible. Here are some tips to make the mask wearing process a little less intimidating for your child:

  • Explain why we need to wear a mask in a way they can understand: “Germs go from our body to someone else’s when we cough, sneeze, spit, or breathe too close to them.”
  • Lead by example. Put your mask on first, showing your child that’s a good idea – and safe! -- to wear a mask.
  • If your child is having difficulty keeping the mask on, find a safe place where you can take breaks from wearing it. Or pick outdoor options where you can socially distance – then they can go mask-free for a while.
  • Decorate the mask to make them more fun, add some stickers or let them pick out their favorite fabric.
  • If the complaint is that the mask is uncomfortable, work with them on a solution. You can add buttons to a headband or use ribbon to help keep the mask off your child’s ears.
  • Practice wearing the mask at home. Put it on for short periods of time so your child can get used to wearing it. For younger children, you can also let your child put a mask on a favorite stuffed animal.
  • Explain that wearing a face mask is a rule right now and just like you must follow other rules, this is one that must be followed.

Pleated face coverings with elastic are likely to work best for children. It should fit securely over the nose and mouth and stretch from ear to ear. Some child-sized coverings may still be too large, so it may take some trial and error to find the right size for your child's face. Be sure to adjust it for a secure fit.

If you have to help your child with putting the mask on, remember to wash your hands before and after. This one is tough, but remind your child to avoid touching the mask once it's on. Another basic mask rule to discuss with them is to avoid touching the front of the face covering by taking it off from behind.

Cloth face coverings should not be put on babies and children under the age of 2 because of the danger of suffocation.