Some kids can’t wear masks—and they don’t deserve to be shamed for it

Mask shaming has gone too far. There are a million reasons why that kid might not be wearing a mask.

stop mask shaming
@5byseven/Twenty20

Confession: I've had to check myself a lot during this pandemic.

I find myself in an emotional spiral nearly every day, and a lot of times, the emotion that bubbles up is anger.

In some cases, anger is warranted. If we had done this correctly—responded to this pandemic early and swiftly—the situation might be so much better right now. We should have prioritized health and education. We should have supported people so that they could make safe choices instead of being forced to choose between safety and income.

We should have done so much more, but we didn't, and here we are. And I'm angry.

But I need to watch how that anger presents, and to whom I direct it.


I run my select errands and inevitably come home upset at all the perceived wrong-doings of other people.

"Six feet! That is not 6 feet!"

"Why is she buying so much toilet paper? Save some for the rest of us!"

And perhaps the loudest internal protest: "Where is your mask?"

(For the record, these are silent conversations I am having with myself—I haven't actually said anything out loud… yet.)

The anger is real—but that doesn't make it okay. Because the truth is that we have no idea what other people are going through. Everyone has a story that we know absolutely nothing about. Things are kind of awful right now, and my assumption-based anger doesn't help at all.

And so, I am checking myself—and I want to ask you to join me.

There is no question that we all need to do our part and follow the public health guidelines. We also need to be kind; because my goodness the world needs it right now.

There are so many reasons a child may not be wearing a mask. Here are a few to remember:

  • They are younger than two years old (remember that some kids look a lot older than they actually are)
  • They have emotional, sensory or communication reasons (that may not be visually evident to you)
  • They have a health problem that makes mask-wearing difficult
  • A family member relies on being able to see them lip read
  • They are a kid and have been wearing a mask all day, and finally just got fed up and ripped it off

And the people who are walking within 6 feet of each other? Yes, maybe they are choosing to ignore the rules—or maybe they just received really bad news and forgot themselves for a little bit.

And that person buying massive amounts of toilet paper? Yes, maybe they are selfishly hoarding—or maybe they work in a group home caring for elderly people, and they just need to buy a lot of toilet paper.

We are facing collective trauma. I cannot think of a single person who isn't hurting right now—and many have layers and layers of hardship and trauma happening at the same time.

Everyone has a story. If we gave people a little more grace and a little less anger, this whole situation might be a little more tolerable. This doesn't mean that we don't hold people accountable. Nor does it mean that we get to pick and choose the rules that we want to follow (when we are able to follow them).

The collective good needs to matter more than it does right now, and a huge part of that is following the public health guidelines whenever we possibly can.

But the other part of the collective good is kindness—so please, can we inject more of that into our days?

For the children that are ale to wear a mask, these are our absolute favorite:

Kids mask buddies

kids mask buddies

Sold as a set of three, these double-layered cotton masks will be your child's favorite to wear. They get to pretend to be a kitty, fox or puppy, after all! And, they come with a little carrying case that can be worn on the wrist or as a scrunchy for storage when not in use.

$25

Reversible mask

reversible kids mask

These reversible masks could not be any cuter. And you'll love that they are made of four layers of cotton. The elastic ear loops keep them snug on the face while ensuring your little one stays comfortable.

$12

Instant hand sanitizer

hand sanitizer

For germ fighting on the go, Noodle & Boo instant hand sanitizer is an absolute must. It's completely vegan, and it won't dry your hands out. With a mild but lovely scent and a container that fits perfectly into the cup-holder of your car, this hand sanitizer will make your days so much easier—and safer.

$10

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