How to help your child feel more comfortable wearing a face mask

By Carolina Boyd, Communications Associate

As cases of the coronavirus continues to surge in the Houston area, as well as the state of Texas, many of us are being asked to wear face masks every time we go out in public. That recommendation applies to children over the age of two. It can be very tough to get kids to understand the reasons why they need to wear a face covering during these times.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children older than two-years-of-age wear cloth masks to help to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus from sneezes, coughs or respiratory droplets. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face mask in public settings where social distancing can be difficult, like the doctor’s office or grocery store. If you find you are getting resistance from your child about wearing a mask, there are ways to help your child become more comfortable with the idea.

Explain why it is important to wear a mask.

Talk to your child about how wearing a mask is required in many places. Teach them about germs and why wearing a mask can help protect them as well as others from the coronavirus.

Put your mask on first.

Lead by example. Show your child that it is safe to wear a mask by wearing one too. Model the correct way to place the mask on his or her face.

Practice wearing the mask at home.

Have your child practice wearing their mask at home so they can become more comfortable with having one on. Put it on for short time periods to help your child get used to it. For younger children, place a mask on a favorite stuffed animal to help them get on board with the idea for themselves.

Mask precautions for children with special care needs.

  • Children who are considered high-risk or are severely immunocompromised are encouraged to wear an N95 mask for protection.
  • Families of children at higher risk are encouraged to use a standard surgical mask if they are sick to prevent the spread of illness.
  • Children with severe cognitive or respiratory impairments may have a hard time tolerating a cloth face covering. For these children, talk to your child’s pediatrician since special precautions may be needed.
  • If a face mask poses choking or strangulation hazards to your child, or if the mask causes your child to touch their face more frequently, parents may need to reconsider having a child wear a face covering.

Be patient! It may take days or even weeks for a child to get used to wearing a face mask. Talk your child’s Legacy Community Health doctor to answer any of your questions. Visit our website or call 832-548-5000 to schedule an appointment.

Photo courtesy of August de Richelieu via Pexels