LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kids over five are included in the mask mandate, which remains in effect until the Kentucky Supreme Court decides on the case.
As many parents know, getting kids to wear a mask is easier said than done. When child care centers reopened, University of Louisville Director of Child and Adolescent Services Amory Haley offered all kinds of advice for parents on getting kids adjusted to the new changes.
“Their ears are going to get sore. There’s going to be things about it that they don’t like. We just have to talk to them about how it is not just taking care of us, but taking care of others, so it is important for them to do their best with keeping their masks on,” Haley said.
Some kids may not have been out much during the pandemic. Some of them may find masks intimidating. Parents can take some of that fear away by making it fun for them.
Haley suggests a peekaboo game behind the maks to let them know you are still there. You can make little masks for their dolls and teddy bears to wear. Another idea is to get masks the kids will want to wear. That can be a mask with their favorite cartoon character on it or even getting a mask they can decorate themselves.
This adjustment for them is not just about wearing the masks, but also getting used to others wearing them. Kids learn a lot through non-verbal communication, and when people wear a mask, expressions aren’t easy to read.
“It’s important to be as expressive as you can through your eyes,” Haley said.
While kids may not like the masks, they will be more willing to wear them if they know why. Haley suggests clearly explaining that to them.
“We just have to talk to them about how it is not just taking care of us, but taking care of others, so it is important for them to do their best with keeping their masks on,” Haley said.
Even with these tips, kids are creatures of habit. It may take time for them to adjust. You may want to start wearing them around the house from time to time, so they are used to it when they go out in public and have no choice but to wear one.