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Let's Unmask Some Tips About Masks

We are starting school in just a few weeks, and are awash in emotions; excitement, enthusiasm, anticipation, optimism, and yes, we are a bit anxious! In order to comply with best practice during Covid, we have needed to revamp our school in ways that make sense and keep everyone safe.

Covid is a respiratory illness mainly spread through droplets when we sneeze, cough, sing or talk. One of the best ways to practice safety is through the use of masks for teachers, directors, parents and children! Masks provide a barrier which is important in mitigating the spread of Covid 19. If you are concerned about your child’s ability to wear a mask for any length of time, we think this blog will be helpful. There are some basic steps to take right now, so that wearing a mask becomes second nature.

· Modeling-You are the most powerful role model in your child’s life. By wearing your own mask, you are giving your child the green light to mimic your behavior. Make sure you wear a mask whenever you are out in public, and that your mask fits properly. Try to be as natural as possible about wearing a mask, and answer any questions your child may have. At the preschool level, it helps to say that “masks keep us safe, and we are all being good helpers by wearing one.” Your child will pick up on your cues, and follow suit. Most children will forget they are wearing a mask after a certain amount of time, or when sufficiently engaged in activity. We can provide a lot of that lovely, engaging activity at LANK!

· Choice-Children like to have choices. Allow your child to choose masks that are playful, with characters or designs that are appealing. I recommend at least seven masks; one for each day of the week, or extras for when one is soiled or wet. Perhaps your child can decorate a cloth mask with fabric markers or paper mask with stickers so there is pride of ownership whenever he/she wears it! Allow your child to choose which mask to wear each day—the same way you might encourage your child to choose a shirt or favorite pair of pants.

· Practice-Any new behavior is best learned over time with repeated exposure. Have your child wear a mask for short outings or when playing at home to get used to the feeling. Set a timer, for five minutes then increase to six or seven. Praise your child for a job well done, and practice both persistence and consistency over the next few weeks. It is fine to offer a small reward for extending mask time-a bike ride or favorite book is always a great idea.

· Playfulness-There is no better way for children to feel comfort than through dramatic play. This is a great way for children to make sense of the world around them. Stuffed animals, and dolls provide a wonderful vehicle for children to practice putting on and taking off masks, as well as reinforcing why we are wearing them. Set up a classroom of stuffed animals and your child may practice having all those soft toys keeping others safe and sound.

Fit- Experiment in the days before school begins by choosing a mask that is comfy and fits properly. The mask should fit securely to the face and cover both mouth and nose. Find a mask that doesn't slip, and your child will be ready for a great day at LANK!

We will see all our LANK friends in a few short weeks, and celebrate each individual as well as their new school bags, supplies, clothes, and masks!


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