Face masks have become a staple in daily life as we battle through this pandemic. As schools and child care facilities consider reopening plans, kid-friendly face masks are certainly part of the conversation. Leaving many parents to wonder, how will we realistically get kids to keep masks on all day?
Why Do Kids Need To Wear Masks?
The same reason adults do—they keep our germs to ourselves. Masks are not an option for children under the age of 2 or for people with breathing problems. But for everyone else, they’re a key solution to slowing the spread of viruses.
That said, the reality of being able to keep masks on kids is not a simple one. Parents need to use their best judgment in developing strategies and guidelines for how to approach kid-safe face masks with their children, especially younger children.
Types Of Face Masks To Consider For Kids
Off the Ears
For kids that don’t like things around their ear and/or are prone to losing things the gaiter style covering is a good option. It can be worn around their neck and easily pulled up and down when moving into public spaces that don’t allow them to socially distance.
The Right Fabric
Not all fabric is created equal, especially when it needs to cover your face. Research what fabric masks are made from and if they’re breathable. Old Navy offers sets made out of 100% poplin cotton that boast breathability. This is an item that you definitely want to expand the “product details” section on before you purchase.
Reusable, washable masks are important to make sure the needs for daily mask-wearing doesn’t result in an increase in unnecessary waste. Consider researching companies like, Christy Dawn, that are creating masks from excess fabric from their clothing line.
If you’re concerned about little ones easily pulling their masks off at an inopportune time, find makes that secure behind their head vs their ears. Etsy has 100s of tie-on kid-safe masks to browse right now.
Find Their Style
Incorporate their personal style into the selection. Just like with potty/underwear training, things are easier when you offer up the ones with their favorite character emblazoned on them vs plain white ones. Disney has a whole selection of masks that turn kids into their favorite characters.
Tips For Getting Them to Keep Them On
- Talk about why it’s important with the whole family. Face masks = ability to interact with others.
- Find the style that works best for them. Like shoes, what’s comfortable for one person won’t be for another. Don’t just try one style and give up. Talk about what they like and don’t like about different masks you try.
- Masks are slightly uncomfortable but they’re something you can get used to with practice. Make space for outings that are built just around building tolerance for mask-wearing. They will likely have to wear them for long periods of time if heading to school.
- Lead by example. Show kids how seriously you take the practice of wearing a mask when out in public. If they see you being lax on the guidelines it will be harder to get them to take the guidelines seriously themselves.
Overall, masks are important during this pandemic but they will take some time to incorporate into a kid’s daily behaviors. Take the time to have the conversation, research what works best for your needs and start building the habit.