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Wellness

Here's how you can make mask-wearing more tolerable for your child

How to get your child to wear a mask and keep it on.

Here's how you can make mask-wearing more tolerable for your child

(Photo: The New York Times/Alyssa Schukar)

You may be used to wearing a mask by now, but for many children reentering school, especially those with sensory issues, it can be hard to adjust. Here’s how to help make masks more tolerable.

WASH FIRST 

Use hot water with unscented detergent to remove any chemical or packaging smells. You should wash masks daily – or more often if soiled.

READ: How children’s sleep habits have changed in the pandemic

THEN CONSIDER THE STRAPS 

Experiment with masks that have ear loops and those with straps that go behind the head. Some straps may tug hair or irritate sensitive scalps; placing straps under a ponytail may help (when possible).

You can add a cord lock to make straps tighter. There are also extenders available that convert an ear-loop mask into one that a child is better able to tolerate.

IF THE STRAPS JUST DON'T WORK 

Sew buttons onto a snug headband or baseball cap to hold the ear loops. You can also find pre-made versions of this online.

TRY DISTRACTING YOUR KIDS 

Is your child constantly putting the mask in her mouth? Allow her to chew gum as a special treat while wearing it. Hand toys like a squishy ball or clay can also redirect mask fidgeting.

A drop of an essential oil on the outside of a mask can distract from unpleasant smells. Citrus and mint tend to pep kids up, while florals tend to calm. Use only therapeutic-grade essential oils.

READ: Ways to create a multiracial, multicultural spectrum in a child's activities and toys

ENLIST THEIR HELP 

Remember: Kids do best when they feel a sense of control. Consider masks with their favourite animals, characters or team names.

Ask for their ideas on how to solve problems with mask discomfort. Their solutions might surprise you!

By Lindsey Biel © The New York Times 

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/08/19/well/childrens-face-masks-comfort.html

Source: New York Times

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