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Tips And Tricks To Help Your Child Wear A Mask

Consider all the different styles/types of masks available and let them choose their own masks. Your child may be more likely to wear a mask if:


  • It has a favorite color or character. Your child can even help make or decorate their own.


  • It is comfortable to wear. There are many options for materials, style, and accessories to help make masks more tolerable. Examples include “Ear Savers” which put the pressure on the back of the head (like straps for glasses) instead of on the backs of the ears; a headband with buttons that the mask attaches to; gaiters (face-neck tube scarves that cover the nose and mouth but fit under the ears and over the neck); straps that tie around the head; adjustable straps.


  • Your child is given choices and the ability to make a decision on what feels best for them.


Preparation is key in helping your child wear a mask.


  • Provide age-appropriate explanations for their function and use. Make clear rules and expectations for mask-wearing.


  • Model. Show your children that you, too, wear masks. Talk through your own problem solving or discomfort while wearing masks. For example, “oh no, this mask is itchy. I can adjust it but I can’t take it off because we need to stay safe”


  • Use visuals. Show them pictures or videos of others wearing masks. Use a social story to help them process and prepare.


Tips & Tricks when your child may still be resistant to wearing a mask:


  • Exposure. Let your child hold the mask, feel the material, play with it, hold it up to their face while in your home.


  • Have them put masks on their dolls or stuffed animals. Color pictures of masks or make paper masks.


  • Slowly increase the time you ask your child to wear a mask. Use of a timer may be helpful. Eventually, have them wear the mask while completing a routine or preferred activity (watching tv, playing a game, etc) while at home.


  • Once your child is able to wear a mask outside the home, be sure to offer and implement routine mask breaks in a place that is safe to remove the mask for a period of time.


  • Remember to offer frequent praise and encouragement, as well as rewards (food/candy, or even a preferred activity) while wearing the mask.


  • Reset as needed. If your child is not able to tolerate a mask (or has an off day), it is important to wait until the child is calm, feels safe, and is better able to try again another time. Redirection is another strategy to employ to help your child focus on something else. If you notice your child playing with the mask, maybe ask them if they can put their hands in their pockets for a time.


  • Think about your child’s particular sensitivities or aversions. Ask specific questions to help pinpoint what may be bothering your child when wearing a mask. If your child is sensitive to smells, using a drop of essential oil on the mask or having them apply scented lip balm may make it more tolerable.


Helpful Resources for Mask wearing:

Social Stories: IH/view?blm_aid=32695

Coloring Sheets: ks-maskcoloringsheet.pdf

General Resources:

Disclaimer: AAK does not employ any doctors or medical professionals; please reach out to your child’s pediatrician with any medical concerns regarding mask-wearing.

Important Reminder: It is NOT advised for children under the age of 2 to wear masks for serious risks of suffocation and/or choking.

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