With the uncertainty of COVID-19, parents have a series of serious concerns to think about including what school will look like in the Fall. Children will either go back to school every day, part-time, or not at all. Even if they do not go back to school right away, there will be a time when they are expected back at school at least some of the time with specific guidelines in place to curb transmission of COVID-19. Although we cannot know for sure, and each school district is different, children will likely be required to wear masks at school or other events. If you are a parent, you may already be saying to yourself, “How will I ever get my child to wear a mask all day?!” As a child psychologist who specializes in child behavioral management, I am happy to share some techniques to increase mask compliance and decrease the chances of your child having a tantrum or refusing to wear a mask.
1. Provide validation and support. It is important to acknowledge your child’s feelings about wearing a mask. This is not something your child is accustomed to wearing and it may be a scary or frustrating experience. Saying, “It’s not a big deal, just wear it” will likely lead to more frustration and noncompliance. Instead try saying, “I understand that you are frustrated because this is new and different. We will get through this together.” Your child will feel heard, act less defensive, and be more likely to listen to you.