CCSN understands that our children have dealt with a lot of changes over the last few months in dealing with COVID-19. We want to keep your children safe and have enacted a company wide policy for all our members, over the age of 2, to wear a mask while in our facility. While we have also had our Mentors wear masks, local and federal mandates have changed, and we are working to follow all safety guidelines. From a child’s perspective, this is a huge change and it can even be scary for some.
Watching both adults and kids wear masks and having to wear one themselves can be an unusual experience for children. You can make it fun for them and draw cartoon animals, add stickers on them, and even practice putting them on their stuffed animals. This is a great opportunity to teach kids the reason why we wear masks. People wear masks to keep their germs to themselves and to keep ourselves and each other from getting sick. In the same ways we teach children to say “please” and “thank you” it is a process to learn this new precaution. We also have to teach them to put a mask on when outside of the home, how to put it on properly, and to take breaks when they need to. A few things to remember about cloth masks:
• Create and wear masks by following CDC guidance.
• Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth while wearing cloth masks to prevent potential contamination.
• Wash your hands thoroughly before putting on the mask.
• Remove the mask carefully and wash your hands thoroughly after removing.
• Wash the mask after each use.
Be sure to use clear and positive instructions when talking to your child. Kids can be frustrated by the new feelings of fabric around their face, feeling their own warm breath and wanting to fidget with the mask. Practice makes perfect! Make sure they are comfortable with their mask. Let them hold their mask and keep it in a clean and sealed container or bag. The key to help them get used to the mask is repetition and creating a positive experience for them. Let them know if they feel like they need a break, they need to be at least 6 feet away from another person. Remind them that once they are relaxed, they need to put their mask back on.
As a parent, you set the example for your child and they look up to you and the behavior you model when wearing your mask. It is important to listen to their concerns and acknowledge this is a new thing for this new behavior. It may take time and practice to make sure your child knows how to put on their own mask and wear it around others. You can encourage them to talk to other members of their family or friends and show them what they’ve learned. Kids love to share, and this is a great way to practice and show you they understand. The CCSN Mentors will also work with your children during their services to remind them about wearing their masks to keep everyone safe as well as provide a disposable mask if needed.