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Kids over 2 need to wear face masks, says CDC

Here's how to get them to do it. :point_down:

Kids over 2 need to wear face masks, says CDC
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Months ago when the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) recommended Americans start using homemade cloth face masks to protect against the coronavirus parents had a lot of questions—a recurring one being "how will I convince my child to wear one?

As schools prepare to reopen, districts in various parts of the country will require students to wear masks to class come fall, making the question even more urgent.

So how do we get children used to wearing masks? Here's what experts recommend:


1. Model mask-wearing yourself to normalize face masks

Especially for kids who didn't go many places this summer, wearing a mask can feel strange and even produce some anxiety. "A smiling face helps to provide reassurance to kids, and when they can't see who is beneath the mask, and are required to wear a mask themselves, it can be scary and uncomfortable for young kids," says Dr. Lauren Grodin, PsyD, a psychologist at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, "We need to help children understand why it's important to be safe, accept this new requirement, learn to cope with it, and feel comfortable."

Getting our kids comfortable with mask-wearing starts with wearing them ourselves. When they see a parent wearing a mask they will be more likely to wear their own, and they will learn that they don't have to be scary. Try giving lots of non-facial signs of positivity while wearing your mask—more verbal affirmations instead of smiles and more "thumbs up".

2. Get your kids some control over which mask they wear

Experts say kids are more likely to wear a mask if they get to pick it out themselves. "Getting a child-friendly mask probably increases compliance with wearing," Anna Davies, a research facilitator who previously worked in the Infectious Diseases department at the University of Cambridge, tells NBC News. "Let's face it, looking like Spiderman is going to be a lot more appealing than a plain mask!"

"Have them make it and decorate it," Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a family physician, tells Today Parents. "It was the same thing with bike helmets when we first started requiring kids wear them. Lots of parents said, 'They don't like how they look, they're not comfortable, they're not cool, my kid won't do it.' ... We said the same things. Can they pick out their bike helmet, can they decorate it, can they pick the color? If you can give your kid some autonomy about it, not about when or where but about what, that might help."

3. Make mask-wearing a rule

In some parts of the United States, local governments are requiring citizens to wear masks when they leave their homes, but the CDC's statement on face masks is only a recommendation.

However, some school districts will be requiring masks and public health experts are strongly recommending masks for everyone going in public, even kids. The CDC wants people to wear masks when they are in a community setting, not to avoid catching COVID-19 but to avoid getting other people sick. "A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others," the CDC's guidance notes.

Because children do not seem to get as sick as adults when they have COVID-19 they can unknowingly be carriers. The best way to protect our kids and our communities as our communities reopen is to wear a mask in public, and that's why families should consider making mask wearing a rule, like wearing a helmet on a bike ride or wearing shoes outdoors.

"Treat it exactly the same way you treated them wearing pants when they didn't want to," Gilboa tells Today Parents. "'Sorry, sweetie, it's a rule. You can't go outside without pants. Now, because of what's going on, you can't go out without wearing a mask.' ... I can have empathy for the fact that they don't like it, but that doesn't change the rules."

4. Masks are only for kids over 2 years old

Babies under 2 years old should not wear masks, according to the CDC, as they can increase the risk of suffocation. The CDC's website states: "Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance."

Bottom line: Parents can successfully encourage kids over to wear masks

We're in an unprecedented time and that means we're having to do things differently to protect our kids and our communities. Wearing a mask is different and new, but it can help us return to some old familiar things, like open schools.

[A version of this post was first published April 8, 2020. It has been updated.]

We've stocked the Motherly Shop with kid-friendly masks they'll actually want to wear. Check out some of the best-sellers below!


Cubcoats uki the unicorn mask buddy

Cubcoats uki the unicorn mask buddy

This might just be one of the coolest masks we've ever seen. Designed to keep track of easily, it transforms into a bracelet or hair tie when not in use.

$13

Cubcoats tomo tiger reversible mask

Cubcoats tomo tiger reversible mask

Two fun patterns for the price of one! This adorable mask features a reversible design so kids can decide which best suits the day's attire.

$13

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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