(CNN) —The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling on all Americans to wear face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19 but getting children to wear masks is often easier said than done.
Whether it’s getting them on or keeping them on kids and face coverings aren’t an easy mix. And Therapist Jody Baumstein with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong-4-Life agrees.
“We need to have realistic expectations with kids,” said Baumstein.
But, she say there are five things you can do to help your kids wear a mask.
First, have a simple and age-appropriate conversation with your child.
“Just being really honest with them and encouraging them to do it by talking to them about the benefits rather than persuading them or forcing them,” explained Baumstein.
Second, make them part of the process, allow them to choose their mask or decorate it.
“That helps them get excited about it. it gives them a sense of ownership,” Baumstein encouraged.
Third, let them practice wearing and putting on a face covering.
“Give them fabric and let them put masks on stuffed animals and try to just have fun with it don’t take it too seriously,” said Baumstein.
Fourth, give gentle reminders not just verbally let them see you wearing a mask.
“That helps them to realize this is something you take seriously and you’re really consistent with it,” Baumstein relayed.
Finally, know your child, ask open-ended questions to understand why they might have trouble wearing a mask.
“Just validate their concern let them know you understand and then work with them on problem-solving around it,” conveyed Baumstein.
The therapist says parents of young children can also make masks fun by allowing their child to also put on a cape and become a superhero or let them pretend the mask makes them a doctor or nurse.