The surprising benefit of kids wearing masks 🙌

What doctors and parents say about the psychological benefits of masks

The surprising benefit of kids wearing masks 🙌

So many familiar, comforting things have changed in the last few months and now we're asking our kids to do something else outside of their comfort zone: wear a mask. It might seem like added stressor but experts say there is a surprising, positive benefit to kids adjusting to this precaution.

Wearing masks helps kids feel more in control during a time when everything seems a bit out of control.

"A significant benefit of wearing any kind of mask in public is psychological," Dr. Allan S. Detsky and Dr. Isaac Bogoch of the University of Toronto's Department of Medicine explain. "It gives people a sense of control over the uncontrollable."


Dad Chris Foster agrees. His family was living in Hong Kong during the SARS outbreak in 2003. His kids were young and the outbreak turned their world upside down.

"It was scary for them, as they couldn't really understand what was going on. One of the ways we were able to help them feel a bit more secure, and feel like they were helping the world out, was by wearing a mask," says Foster, a former COO who is now working with School Mask Pack to get masks into classrooms and onto little faces.

Foster witnessed how masks helped his kids feel more confident and in control during the SARS outbreak and hopes other parents can use masks not only to keep kids from spreading the virus but to give their kids back some of the control the coronavirus took from us in 2020.

"It made [my kids] feel more in control of their environment, and they understood that they were helping others by not spreading germs. We positioned it as their superpower, and a way they could help the world get back to normal again," he tells Motherly. "Now at ages 18 and 20, and living in Connecticut, they don't think twice about wearing a mask. They understand deeply that it's not about them, it's about everyone else."

Last month CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield suggested that if everybody in the United States would wear a mask, the epidemic could be under control within 8 weeks. Right now many people still aren't wearing masks, but wearing one could help people take back some control and end the pandemic sooner.

Masks are one part of the recipe, parents are the other

Foster's kids benefited from living in a country where mask-wearing was normalized, and by having supportive parents who were able to explain why masks are so helpful during a pandemic. That's why Meg Sorg, a clinical assistant professor of nursing at Purdue University, recommends parents introduce masks and model wearing them.

"If moms, dads and other loved ones wear masks whenever they come into contact with anyone outside their households, it will help ensure that the kids they care for willingly follow school rules regarding masks," Sorg writes for The Conversation, adding that kids are great imitators and will want to do what we do.

Sorg continues: "I recommend that all parents and other guardians recognize the influence they have over their kids."

This influence can help kids benefit from the positive psychological benefits of masks, rather than seeing masks as anxiety-inducing. Many parents are worried about the emotional impact of the pandemic on children, but experts say that loving parenting will protect kids from any potential lasting negative effects.

According to Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason, a child and adolescent psychiatrist who is vice chief of the mental health program at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters in Virginia, it is important to note that most children who have supportive parents in their lives will not develop anxiety or depression because of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

"For most, the memory of COVID-19 will shape their world view in the same way that the Great Depression shaped how many of our grandparents and great-grandparents lived," Gleason explains, adding that while kids will remember things like how mom and dad stocked up on toilet paper, or how they had to wear a mask in school, "it won't interfere with their development or their long-term relationships."

She continues: "Knowing that they have someone they can count on for protection and comfort, and who will help keep life predictable, offers a powerful protection against the pandemic's harmful effects."

With love and masks, we can get through this.

Editor's note: Kids with certain disabilities or sensory issues may not be able to wear masks. That's why kids who are able to wear masks should.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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


I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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


There are major health benefits when baby looks just like dad, says study

They had fewer emergency room visits and were less likely to suffer from asthma + illness, according to findings.

We’re the ones who carry them for nine months, so it can be a bit of shock when a baby is born looking nothing like us. It might even feel a bit unfair, but don’t take it too hard, mama. Science proves looking like dad has some big benefits for babies.

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