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How to get your kids comfortable wearing face masks at school

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 4:48 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -

School is going to look a lot different this year from virtual learning to social distancing and even wearing a face mask. CoxHealth’s Child Life Specialist Kayleigh Stark said you should start teaching your kids to wear a mask before school bell rings.

”The most important thing to get your child to wear a face mask is to just explain why. Explain to them in a soft, age appropriate language the importance of wearing a mask and why we’re doing it. Not only for ourselves but our friends and family,”said CoxHealth’s Child Life Specialist Kayleigh Stark.

Before they start masking up, get creative. Have them design their own or even have a matching one with their favorite stuffed animal or action figure.

”The brighter the colors, let them have creativity on deciding what they want their mask to look like. They might want a superhero mask on tuesday but tie dye on Wednesday,” said Stark.

Stark said start slow.

”Say a 7-year-old who is in the first or second great. Let’s do seven minutes. One minute for each year of their age. Let’s take a break for five then maybe a bit later we will add a couple minutes on,” said Stark.

She said to assure them that they’ll be able to breath with the mask on.

”We may do roller coaster breathing. Where we breathe in then exhale. Then just really slow and steady our breathing. The more calm our body is going to be the less we will feel that mask coming back and forth on our face,” said Stark.

Stark said to show them that they’re not alone in this.

”Eventually they’ll forget it’s there because they’re having fun doing other things seeing their friends and teachers again. We just want to stay positive and very consistent and being a good role model. Make sure we’re wearing our mask and wearing them properly,” said Stark.

Stark also suggests to have kids design their own mask or get multiple so they can wear different ones each day. She said you can create an incentive or sticker chart each day they wear one they get a sticker or a prize.

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