How to get your kids to wear masks

Photo courtesy MGN.
Photo courtesy MGN.(WJHG)
Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 9:15 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Many local parents are looking for ways to teach their kids to wear masks, just in case their school district requires them in classes in the fall.

District 49 was the first in El Paso County to announce students, teachers and guests will be required to wear masks inside schools in the fall. Other large school districts, like 11 and 20, have not announced a decision yet.

11 News spoke with local experts about teaching your children how to understand and wear masks during the pandemic, if required.

“I think trying to get our children to wear masks is the same as trying to get them to do anything else that we want them to do,” said pediatrician Dr. Shabnum Matthews-Vu, of Matthews-Vu Medical Group.

Experts recommend four simple steps:

-Set a clear expectation: In the same way parents do for other responsibilities, like homework. For example, “I expect you to wear your mask while we’re in the store, and then when we come outside, you can take it off.”

-Explain your reasoning: Younger kids may understand that “my germs are good for me, but could be bad for you.” Older kids may understand the idea of wearing a mask because it could help someone else.

-Set a good example: Wear your mask in front of your children, model the behavior you want your kids to imitate.

-Reward them: Positively reinforce the behavior, as it is more likely to be repeated. For example, telling your child “you did such a great job wearing your mask while we were inside, now let’s go outside and do something fun, where you don’t have to wear your mask.”

Experts also recommend practicing wearing masks with your kids, starting with 15 minutes a day, to 30 minutes a day, and so on.

“Get kids used to it. Practice when you’re at home. Let kids wear their mask and look in the mirror, and make funny faces. You can decorate their masks, you can tell them that super heroes wear masks,” said Matthews-Vu.

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