December 8 2022 11:16 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

Make your child’s mask tolerable

A mother helps her daughter put on a face mask in Hyattsville, Maryland, April 30, 2020. (Photo: NYTimes)
You may be used to wearing a mask by now, but for many children reentering school, especially those with sensory issues, it can be hard to adjust. Here’s how to help make masks more tolerable.اضافة اعلان

1. Wash first.

Use hot water with unscented detergent to remove any chemical or packaging smells. You should wash masks daily — or more often if soiled.

2. Then consider the straps.

Experiment with masks that have ear loops and those with straps that go behind the head. Some straps may tug hair or irritate sensitive scalps; placing straps under a ponytail may help (when possible).

You can add a cord lock to make straps tighter. There are also extenders available that convert an ear-loop mask into one that a child is better able to tolerate.

3. If the straps just don’t work …

Sew buttons onto a snug headband or baseball cap to hold the ear loops. You can also find premade versions of this online.

4. Try distracting your kids.

Is your child constantly putting the mask in her mouth? Allow her to chew gum as a special treat while wearing it. Hand toys like a squishy ball or clay can also redirect mask fidgeting.

A drop of an essential oil on the outside of a mask can distract from unpleasant smells. Citrus and mint tend to pep kids up, while florals tend to calm. Use only therapeutic-grade essential oils.

5. Enlist their help.

Remember: Kids do best when they feel a sense of control. Consider masks with their favorite animals, characters or team names.

Ask for their ideas on how to solve problems with mask discomfort. Their solutions might surprise you!