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Training your kids to keep their masks on

Purdue professor, and mom, has tips
Child Masks.PNG
Posted at 5:53 PM, Aug 03, 2020

WEST LAFAYETTE — High up on the school supplies list this semester are face masks.

Finding the coverings may be easier than training your children to properly use them. But it doesn't have to be a daily battle, according to Meg Sorg, a clinical assistant professor and pediatric nurse in Purdue University’s School of Nursing, and the mother of four.

For families in school districts that have delayed opening, now is the time to practice. The Centers for Disease Control says children ages two and older can safely wear cloth masks or face coverings.

Sorg said parents and caregivers should use age-appropriate terms in talking to children frequently about the reasons for and the importance of wearing a mask.

“Toddlers want to do everything themselves, so showing them how to correctly put on their mask and then letting them do it themselves can help increase the appeal of wearing it,” Sorg says. “Preschool children are great imitators, so they’re likely to follow examples set by parents or older siblings. School-aged children are all about rules, so explain to them that mask-wearing is a new rule they must follow.”

Allowing children to pick out or decorate their masks is one way to get more support, Sorg said. Once the child has a mask, be sure to have the child practice keeping the mask on over their nose and keeping hands off of their face. It is important to show the child how to properly remove the mask, as well as washing hands before and after placement or removal.

“It’s important as we go through this time to remember to point out and compliment them for correct practices. This is new to them, so be patient as they adjust and learn,” Sorg said.