Talking to Kids about: Wearing Masks

In some parts of Canada, kids are now going back to in-person school after several weeks of online learning. In other regions, they’ve been in class for a while and may be getting tired of mask-wearing. And even in areas where kids will see out the end of the school year virtually, you might be looking ahead to masking up for summer camps and other activities. Whatever the situation, here are some tips to make mask-wearing easier for kids and teens.

Know the rules and recommendations

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks should only be worn by children aged 2 and up. The Canadian government further states that kids between the ages of 2 and 5 may be able to use masks with supervision, depending on their own ability and comfort level in putting them on, wearing them, and taking them off. Different provinces, organizations, and school boards will have slightly differing rules about which grades or ages must wear masks and under which circumstances, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the policies and protocols of your child’s daycare, camp, or school and ask them for clarifications or details as needed.

Help them understand why it’s important

The exact messaging will vary depending on your child’s age and abilities, but the overall theme is that this is an important way to keep ourselves and others safe. Let your child lead the way with the questions that are most relevant to them, and provide information in an age-appropriate, reassuring way. Since kids under 12 won’t be in line for a vaccination for some time, it’s especially important for them to understand that this is one of the best ways of staying safe for now.

Be a good role model

If you can make mask-wearing seem like a normal and routine thing for yourself and your family, it’s easier for kids and teens to stick with the program. Make sure that you’re also following all the current recommendations and guidance about masks, and show how you’ve made mask-wearing part of your day-to-day habits. You could even set aside a specific time for your child to work with you on washing and preparing masks for the upcoming school week - anything that helps integrate masks and mask-wearing into your usual routine.

Make it convenient, comfortable - and fun!

You can make mask-wearing easier for kids with a bit of advance planning and perhaps some accessories. Make sure that they have an extra supply that will cover them through the whole daycare, camp, or school day if a mask gets dirty, wet, or lost. Try a few different styles and designs to see which ones feel best and are easiest for your child to wear for an extended period. Accessories like lanyards can make it easier for kids to keep track of their masks when taking them off for snacks, lunch, and other mask breaks. And try to have some fun with things! There are a lot of cool kid-oriented designs out there - and on - that give your kids a chance to express themselves and make a fashion statement! Crafty kids might enjoy decorating their own blank masks with markers, paints, or tie-dye. Although keeping your family and others safe from the coronavirus is serious business, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring!

If you have kids, what has worked in your family for getting everyone on board with proper mask use? Share this article on your social media to continue the conversation!

For more tips and information about kids and masks, see: