The CDC recommends wearing cloth face masks in public to help slow the spread of coronavirus, but do kids care? Not so much. The Academy of Pediatrics advises children over two should also wear masks when they’re outside the home, but actually getting your toddler or first-grader to keep a face mask on isn’t always easy. So if you’re struggling to wrangle your kids into one, try these tips from real-life moms who have done it successfully.
- Make sure it’s actually a child-size mask – Not only do the masks made specifically for children fit their faces better, they also come in fun prints, like dinosaurs and unicorns, so kids are more likely to want to wear them.
- Add a cape and make it a superhero thing – Wearing a mask is a lot more fun for the kids when they have on a cape and you’re off on a mission to pick up a prescription or groceries.
- Help them make a matching mask for their favorite stuffed animal – Putting a bandana or piece of cloth around their favorite doll or stuffed animal’s face may help make kids more comfortable with the idea of wearing a mask.
- Talk to them about why they have to wear a mask – If your kids are old enough, explain why we wear masks and wash our hands so much during the day.
- Turn it into a guessing game – If you’re waiting in line with your child, ask them if you’re frowning or smiling under your mask, then let them make a face and you take a turn guessing.
- Normalize it – Seeing everyone wearing masks can be a little scary for a kid, so make it feel more normal by showing them photos of their friends and family wearing masks, too.
- Bribe and reward – When all else fails, use whatever works, stickers, quarters, bonus screen time, or anything else that you can bribe them with.