How to help kids adjust to wearing a mask
By Primary Children's Hospital
Aug 13, 2020
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
Wearing a mask is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19 but getting a child to wear a face mask may be tricky. They may be afraid, feel self-conscious, or feel a mask is too uncomfortable. Here are some ways to help your child adjust to wearing a mask.
You’d never send your first-grader to school wearing your high-schooler’s pants and the same is true for your child’s face-covering. For a mask to be effective, fit is key. Look for face coverings that are specifically sized for children. Your child’s mask should cover her nose, mouth, and chin and fit snugly but not tight. Ear loops can be easier than ties for young children. Kids are unlikely to keep their mask on if it’s uncomfortable. If it’s too big (or too small), they’re more likely to touch their mask to make adjustments and reposition it, which could also increase their risk of infection.
Help your child feel more comfortable with wearing a mask by:
Here are a few ideas from the American Academy of Pediatrics that may also help.
If you have a child with special needs, talk to your child’s school and your pediatrician about your child’s situation and your concerns. For deaf and hard of hearing children who lip read, a custom mask worn by the teacher or aides may help.
Going back to school raises a lot of concerns and district plans will most likely evolve as time passes. In the meantime, teach your kids to wear a mask, wash their hands correctly, avoid touching their cute face, and choose elbow bumps instead of hugs when they see their friends.