So let me just start off by saying, I never thought I would be writing this article. Really, who saw COVID-19 and mask-wearing being a thing? But here we are. And as states have been opening up, and people are coming out of quarentine the CDC has generally recommended people 2 and older wear a mask (parents with littles under 2, keep moving, this article is NOT for you). The thought of getting a preschooler to wear a mask can sound daunting. However, being that we live in an apartment building in an urban area, we have felt it a necessary step for our family. We want to protect our neighbors and the people we interact with whether just checking the mail, or walking around the nature center. We have actually had great success in getting our littles to wear masks, and not just wear them, but to do it joyfully! So I thought I’d share what we are doing for those on the struggle bus. Here’s what’s working for us in getting littles to wear a mask.
Explain the Science
We have been using this crazy situation of COVID-19 to talk about germs. Germs Are Not For Sharing/ Los Germenes No Son Para Compartir has been an excellent book to help us explain the science behind germ-spreading. It has helped start conversations about germs in general, hand-washing, and now even mask-wearing. We talk about how masks help us keep our germs to ourselves. The truth is that wearing a mask won’t keep my littles from getting sick. But, it can help us keep from spreading the virus if we already caught it and had a mild-case or are asymptomatic. That feels important when we remember that we have elderly neighbors, friends and family that are immune compromised, and we don’t want our favorite people at the local grocery store to get sick.
Get Some Cute Masks
Getting a fun or cute mask can make all the difference in helping littles want to wear a mask. We got ours from Treats to Meet. We chose this shop mainly for the girly monster design they offered, and the fact they came with a filter pocket, which has been harder to find in kids masks. Some other shops I love selling masks are:
If you’re looking for ways to help your little wear a mask, you’ve probably already committed yourself to wearing a mask. Modeling mask-wearing yourself is huge, but having your little see others wear mask can have an even bigger impact. When my 3 year-old saw the Easter Bunny wear a mask to hand out candy at our church, she talked about it for weeks! That’s when she started asking us to buy her a mask. When I showed my 2 year-old a video clip of Doc McStuffins wearing a mask, she wore her mask to be like Doc McStuffins. My littles have started calling their masks ‘antifaz’ which is a word for mask in Spanish commonly associated with superheroes. And when we care for those around us, well that’s pretty heroic.
Keep Outings Short
You can make mask-wearing as fun as you want, but littles really can go for so long. So keep your outings short. The best way to keep others safe is still distance. Masks are recommended only when social-distance is difficult.
We Take Care of Each Other
When the girls masks arrived, shrieked with glee as she slipped the elastic over her ears. When it was secure she looked at me with all sincerity and said, “now I can help my friends not get sick.” She preceded to wear her mask around the house and sing “we take care of each other” (thanks Daniel Tiger). We have seen this episode so many times, it was the first thing she thought of. And isn’t it true, that’s the main reason we wear masks. It’s not about us, it’s about caring for our neighbors as ourselves. Working on empathy during this season, and caring for our neighbors has been a big theme in our home this season. Mask-wearing is just and extension of that. It’s one way we’re learning to love God and love others.