Tips for Explaining Masks to Your Children

Parents, Children are VERY smart and curious, so in a light (not too heavy, scary, or intellectual) manner talk with your child about Covid-19 and the reason for wearing mask. Maybe, these tips below could be helpful:

  • Is the mask a costume? (No, sometimes people wear masks when they are sick or to help keep them safe, so they won’t get sick.)
  • Can the person still talk? (Yes. The mask covers their mouth, but they can still talk. Just like if I put my hand over my mouth, I can still talk. [demonstrate])
  • Are they scary or a “bad” person? (No. The mask covers up part of their face, but that doesn’t mean they are scary or bad. They are wearing a mask because they are sick or to keep other people from getting sick. That’s all.
  • Will I get sick? (Everybody gets sick sometimes. If you get sick, we (your parents) will take care of you until you are all better. The doctors will help you, too.)

If you live in a community where many people are wearing masks, your child may want to “pretend play” wearing a mask. This is very typical for toddlers! Pretend play is one way that children make sense of their world, by “trying on” the roles and people they see in the world around them. As a parent, you can decide how comfortable you are with this play theme. You might also suggest pretend play around medical roles (doctor/nurse with a teddy bear) to focus on how people take care of others when they are sick.

During stressful times, what children need most is YOU—a safe, secure relationship where they can express their feelings and questions. Here are some tips:

  • Keep daily routines (naptime, bedtime) as consistent as possible for your child.
  • Limit your child’s exposure to media reports about COVID-19. Remember, your child is soaking in the tension you’re feeling as you watch the news.
  • Discuss your own questions/worries about COVID-19 when your child is out of earshot.
  • Practice good hygiene to limit exposure to COVID-19.