By SD Mom Jessica
COVID isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even with the vaccine started to be distributed, experts think we will still need to be wearing masks for a while. This has caught the attention of many parents of young ones.
The current CDC recommends that kids 2 and older wear a mask. If you have a child that is about to turn two, the thought of trying to get them to wear a mask might be daunting and rightfully so. You can feel like you are trying to muzzle your kids and it easily becomes frustrating for you and your child. My son Walt turned two in August and getting him to wear a mask was challenging to say the least. He’s pretty good about it now, but I learned a lot while trying to teach him. Here are some of my tips on how to get your child to wear a mask:
*DISCLAIMER* I’m not an expert on getting a child to wear a mask. Every child is different and what worked for me might not work for you, but hopefully this is a good place to start.
1 – Start early. If your child is getting close to that second birthday, it’s not a bad idea to get started on mask training now. We started a couple weeks before Walt turned two, but I think we could have started even a month before. That way they’ll be able to keep a mask on for at least a little while by their birthday.
2 – Picking the right mask. Because wearing masks are so new, there aren’t any real universal guides to sizes. I’ve bought ones that were made for toddlers that turned out to be too big or too small. It’s really hard to judge online how they will fit your child. My recommendation is to get a mask with adjustable ear loops. It makes it so much easier to get the correct fit around the face. We bought this set from Amazon (which they had a Baby Shark set at the time that they no longer have):
Don’t be surprised if you have to buy a few masks before getting the right one. It might take a couple before you find one they are comfortable with.
3 – Wearing a mask around the house. We hadn’t taken Walt out of the house much after March. So when August approached, he wasn’t used to seeing us wear a mask. So we started by wearing one around the house so he could see us in one and get used to it.
4 – Give your child something to distract them. When we first tried to put a mask on Walt, it immediately failed. He didn’t want it on his face. So we gave him his tablet to distract him. (Yes, my two-year-old has his own tablet. His grandparents spoil him.) The tablet helped distract and we were able to keep the mask on for a couple minutes.
5 – Practice makes perfect. Once we were able to get the mask on, we did daily sessions I called “mask time.” It started at a couple minutes where we would all wear our masks. Eventually, we got to about 30 minutes where Walt would wear his mask for most of it. These practice sessions turned out to be really helpful.
6 – Try a trial run with both parents if possible. When things were a little more open, we had plans of taking Walt to an outdoor tasting event at Knotts Berry Farm. A couple weeks before that we did a trial run at Target with both of us. That way we could monitor him and, worse comes to worse, one of us could take him to the car while the other finished the shopping trip. We did that a couple times and learned a LOT for it. For example, Walt did NOT cooperate if we were close to nap time!
7 – Always pack a spare. If your little one has those molars coming in, that mask is going to get soaked FAST. Plus, you never know what is going to happen. It’s always good to have a couple masks ready to go in case of emergency. I now have a little mask case that is kept in Walt’s diaper bag. (There’s something I never thought I’d say….)
8 – Patience is key! This isn’t the easiest thing in the world. The earlier you start and get your child used to masks the better. It’s going to be a process and in the end will be totally worth it. But, every child is different. Your kid could put on a mask immediately and be good with wearing it. Just be patient and worse comes to worse have a couple bottles of wine on standby.