Making Masks Fun for Kids!

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As we move into our new reality, and focus on ways to stay safe outside of our homes, it’s important that we work on making masks fun for kids! It is likely that if our children do resume any sort of normal activities, masks will be required. Here are some ways to get your children on board with wearing a mask:

1. Let your child pick the fabric/design

Children are more likely to wear something that they have picked out for themselves. This gives them a sense of independence and control. Now that masks are becoming commonplace due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are tons of options out there. If you aren’t able to find a preferred mask online, check local Facebook groups, the NextDoor app and other social platforms. There are so many members of our community that are making masks. We even came across a Little Free Library that had transformed into FREE masks for children!  

2. Play doctor, dentist or veterinarian

While role-playing, talk to your child about why masks are so important. Take turns wearing a mask, modeling how to put it on, and keeping it on! You can even include your child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal. Be sure to use language that is appropriate for your child’s age. 

3. Read social stories about masks

We are so thankful to those professionals who have taken the time to create social stories for all of our children to read! Here are a couple of our favorites:

4. Encourage your child to wear their mask at home so that they can get used to it

Masks can be uncomfortable. The elastic around the ears can be irritating and they certainly trap the heat! You will want to be sure that your child can wear their mask at home before trying it in public. Also, if your child has glasses, reassure them that their glasses may get a little foggy! You’ll want to remind your child to keep their glasses on to avoid touching their face. Sticker charts or a token reward system may be useful for children who are resistant to wearing a mask. 

5. Read books about Coronavirus

Two publishers wrote books about Coronavirus and you can access them for free! “Coronavirus: A Book for Children” and “My Hero is You: How Kids Can Fight Covid-19.” There are also several book recommendations that may help ease some of your child’s concerns or anxieties. You can learn more about all of these books by clicking here. 

6. Art projects.

f you have a child that is scared of or resistant to masks, it may be easier to start with a different kind of mask. Try making animal or silly monster masks together. You can talk about how some masks cover your eyes and nose while others cover your whole face. This may help ease your child into the concept of masks. 

It is also helpful for parents to understand why wearing masks and seeing people with masks may be difficult for your child. When a person wears a mask, nonverbal communication gets lost. When you walk down the street and smile at a neighbor or a stranger, you are conveying that you are friendly and polite. When you wear a mask, you lose the smile and the feelings associated with that smile. Social smiles may not seem immensely important, however, during a time that provokes anxiety and uncertainties, those social smiles can go a long way. When you notice social smiles and other nonverbal cues are missing, it can be beneficial to talk to your child about these situations. It’s our job as parents to help our children understand what they cannot see. You can also do some role-playing to show how smiles are covered up by masks. Show and teach your child how to communicate other feelings through your eyes and eyebrows and point out these nonverbal cues while reading books. The more information your child has, the easier it will be for them to understand. 

In addition, it’s going to be important for all of us to use more gestures to convey certain feelings and emotions. If you can’t exchange a social smile when walking down the street, wave or give a thumbs up instead! You can also choose to wear a mask that sends a positive message. Find a mask that has a smiley face, a fun pattern or your favorite team! 

If you have questions about your child’s development, or if we can help in any way, schedule a free phone consultation with an experienced therapist or complete a short questionnaire about your child via the “get started” link below. Our team will match your child with a therapist based on their specific needs. 

TherapyWorks provides speech, occupational and physical therapies via teletherapy (or in person in IL, OH and TN)

COVID-19 Protocol

We hope you and your family are continuing to stay safe and healthy! We have outlined our protocols for in-person sessions during COVID-19. As you know, the health and safety of our clients and therapists remain our highest priority. As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we work together through these unprecedented times.

Hand Washing:
Upon arrival at your home, your therapist will wash their hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer. We ask that you and your child also wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer upon your therapist’s arrival.
We are asking our therapists to wear masks upon entering your home and throughout your child’s session. That said, we understand that some children have adverse reactions to seeing adults in masks and will leave it up to you and your therapist to decide your comfort level while still taking safety precautions.
We ask that parents and caregivers also follow the guidelines and wear masks when sitting in on sessions. We will not enforce that policy, but we do kindly ask for compliance.
As for your child, we realize that masks may not be appropriate for every child so we will not enforce the rule that children over the age of 2 should wear a mask.  However, if your therapist insists that your child wear a mask, then that will be a requirement directly between the two of you. We respect our therapists’ individual comfort levels with safety precautions and ask that you respect them as well.


Protocol Acknowledgment and Health Certification:

Before your child’s first in-person session, we are asking clients to submit an acknowledgment of these protocols and a health certification, which you can find here. Thank you again for your cooperation and for helping all of us stay healthy!