Helping Young Children Wear Masks

We know toddlers are having a hard time wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic, and we’ve gotten lots of questions from parents about how to help them do it.

While it’s tempting to want to excuse them, the mask recommendation is an important safety precaution that will likely be around for a long time. So it’s worth the work to get them to wear one.

Here are some helpful tips to encourage your little one(s) to wear a mask…

Model
Model it! Kids often want to do what they’re parents are doing, so you can help make it fun and familiar by wearing a mask too.

Mirror
When wearing of trying masks, have kids look in a mirror, so they can see how they look. This offers a great chance to talk about it too.

Choose
Let kids choose their own masks. Getting to pick a favorite color or pattern or character may help them like and want to wear one.

Decorate
Decorate the mask by coloring it or using stickers or other (safe) additions.

Play
Put masks on their favorite stuffed animals or dolls or action figures.

Look
Show them pictures of other kids, or adults, or even favorite characters, wearing masks.

Draw
If you can’t find pictures of them in masks (or even if you can), draw masks onto photos or images of their favorite characters, superheroes, athletes, toys.

Praise
Positive reinforcement is always a good thing! Offer praise or small rewards when they wear their masks.

Understand
It may be difficult, but be patient whenever possible. Young children are always looking for ways to be independent, and there will be times when they may not want to leave their mask on.

Here are a few links to some of our favorite resources with more helpful tips and info:

KidsHealth   |   Healthy Children   |   Cook Children’s Hospital

For advice on helping school-aged children wear masks, see this Doctor’s Note.

Dr. Lisa Stefano has been a Kids Plus Provider since 2019.