Athlos Tips on Helping Children Wear Face Coverings

All Athlos students attending on-campus classes will be asked to wear face coverings this school year due to COVID-19. Athlos has come up with some simple and fun ways to help your students adapt to wearing a face covering.

These tips and suggestions are based on advice provided by science and health experts with years of experience and education on the importance of mouth coverings and their effectiveness. You can read more from the following sources:

Please remember to follow Minnesota State Face Covering Guidelines when at school, which state: A “face covering” must be worn to cover the nose and mouth completely, and can include a paper or disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, a scarf, a bandanna, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering.

Here are 7 ways you can help your student adapt to wearing a face covering this school year.

Explain why it’s important.

Try to use simple and easy-to-understand language that is both positive and realistic. For example, you can say “Lots of people are sick right now and wearing a face covering will help protect you and others around us from germs.”

Here is a helpful comic children can read as well.

Start with clothing they’re familiar with.

Face coverings can make a child feel uncomfortable and scared, so start with the basics, such as bandanas, scarves, a gaiter/balaclava, or a shemagh/keffiyeh.

Practice wearing it in public and around the house.

This is an important step because it helps to start a habit of remembering to wear it during school. Read this comic together to practice the steps on how to wear it properly according to guidelines by experts. Be sure you are setting a good example by wearing a face covering along with them.

Encourage playtime that involves face coverings.

For younger children, sometimes it’s the fun and excitement of wearing a face covering that helps them adapt. Playing pretend doctor, nurse, veterinarian, or their own creation of dress up are great ways normalize the practice.

Use toys or props to make a point.

For some children, placing a face covering on a stuffed animal, doll or action figure can give them support for wearing one. You can even get humorous by placing googly eyes and a face covering on inanimate objects! Things like this help the student understand that we are all in this together.

Take a photo together.

Whether you decide to share it with others or for your own personal keepsake, the act of taking a photo together while wearing face coverings can create memories and further normalize the practice for the child. This is especially made fun when they customized the face covering themselves.

Get creative with your face coverings.

Children are far more likely to wear something they think is cool, colorful, and fun! A quick Google search will pull up many homemade face covering patterns; here are a few fun ideas making creative face coverings:

  • Let children pick out the pattern and colors they want the face covering to come in.
  • Let them laugh by finding patterns with fun expressions (school appropriate of course).
  • Decorate face coverings by sewing on cartoon cutouts, gluing on sequins, tie-dying them, and more.

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