Nowadays, it is important to talk to our children about masks, why we are wearing them and help children adjust to this new normal. Following are some tips on how to approach these discussions.
PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment — equipment that people wear (masks and gloves) to protect others and themselves from the germs that might cause Coronavirus.
We are seeing more people wearing masks because doctors, nurses and scientists have learned that they are a good tool to help stop the spread of germs. Just like washing our hands.
Make it relatable — for my young children, I’ve told them that a mask is like a superhero cape for their face. You could also talk about the different safety equipment different professionals in their community wear to make it relatable (for example, construction worker – hard hat, firefighter – suit, boots, helmet, etc.)
Let your child pick out their own mask, this will help your child identify with their mask and make them more inclined to want to wear it. Buy multiples of your child’s favourite because it will need to be washed!
Have your child practice wearing the mask at home — start small and work up to longer periods of time. It can also be helpful to have them wear their mask for the duration of different activities —“Lets wear masks while we read a story or watch a show.”
Incorporate wearing a mask into your child’s play — put some in the dress up bin or wear them while you are playing.
Make sure their mask is comfortable and fits properly so they are not fiddling with it. If they do continue to fiddle with their mask or take it off, give them a fidget toy or something to busy their hands with.
Caron Irwin is the founder of Roo Parenting – a consulting service that provides support to parents as they navigate the ups and downs of raising their children. She is the mother of three children and a Certified Child Life Specialist with a background in Child Development and learning through play. For ten years, she has been supporting children and families through illness at Canada’s largest children’s hospital. She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies from Ryerson University. Follow @rooparenting for daily parenting tips and strategies.