Encouraging Your Child To Wear A Mask
Posted on July 19, 2020 by All In
Written by Jeremy Ang (Psychologist, SPD)
Here are some useful tips on how you can encourage your children to wear a mask.
1. Acknowledge that the child can be feeling anxious and fearful of wearing a mask as it is something new for him or her. This is very important.
2. Start at a place where your child feels most comfortable and make sure that the mask is fitted according to your child’s size. You can also try different materials to see which is most comfortable for your child.
3. When leaving the house, you can make a purposeful or emphasised demonstration of wearing a mask to make it look like a routine. You can say “Before leaving the house, I must wear a mask. I like wearing a mask”.
4. Take as much time as you need to try out the following ideas. The goal is to get your child to feel more comfortable with wearing a mask by gradually exposing him or her to handling or wearing the mask.
Ideas to Try Out
1. Show pictures of favourite cartoons wearing a mask (if you are able to find them online).
2. Get your child to hold and bring a mask from one area of the house to another (e.g. from the living room to your room). The aim is for your child to feel more comfortable in handling a mask.
3. Pack a mask as part of your child’s personal space/belonging (e.g. in the child’s bag, pouch, toy storage, child’s cupboard etc).
4. Start your child on the “going out routine”. You can say “Before leaving the house, we need to wear a mask”. Put on shoes then put on the mask.
5. Encourage your child to decorate the mask by using stickers, drawings, or print-outs of his or her favourite cartoon. The purpose of this activity is to make the interaction with the mask fun (not as a decorative mask to wear out).
6. Purchase a cotton mask sleeve with your child’s favourite theme. Some of these masks have slots for the insertion of surgical masks.
7. Ask your child to put on a mask for adults or soft toys.
Mullins, L. & Simpson, S. (2005). Systematic desensitization with children and adolescents. In M. Hersen., J. Rosqvist., & A. M. Gross (Eds.), Encyclopedia of behavior modification and cognitive behavior therapy (pp. 1062-1065). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412950534.n2127
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SPD is a charity in Singapore set up to help people with disabilities of all ages to maximise their potential and integrate them into mainstream society.
This guide was originally published by SPD and republished with minor editorial amendments by All In.
All content found on the All In website, has been created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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