How to Help Children Stay Healthy at School Amid COVID-19
If your children are headed back to the classroom, they may be required to wear a mask.
We have some tips to help you and your children get ready for this new rule.
It’s important to talk to children about what COVID-19 is and how to reduce the spread. But it’s just as important to prepare your children for the changes at school, including wearing masks properly.
Melissa Tenhet, director and instructor at the MSU Child Development and Family Studies Center, offers these tips:
- Make wearing a mask fun. Let them choose from two appropriate options when they pick out their clothes. This helps the child feel in control, and the adult also will be happy.
- Pack an extra mask in a zip-top bag in case the one they are wearing gets wet or soiled.
- Washable masks must be cleaned in the washing machine. Have enough to get through the week.
- Wear one mask per day unless it becomes contaminated. Wash washable masks after each day of use. Throw away disposable masks daily.
- Wear the mask correctly at all times. It should cover the nose and mouth. Do not remove it to talk to others.
- Touch only the ear loops, ties or elastic to put on and take off the mask. If the front of the mask is touched, wash hands afterward.
- Be a role model. Practice with your children, and wear a mask when appropriate.
- Watch a kid-friendly video that explains the process and why we should all wear masks. It can help start the conversation.
Tenhet recommends the following videos to help children understand why and how to wear a mask:
- “Making Masks Fun: Tips for Helping Your Child Wear a Face Mask” from a certified child life specialist with the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
- “How to Make a Mask Easily by Elmo and Dr. Sanjay Gupta” on YouTube.
- “Wearing a Mask in Public” by the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Get more information on this topic in our feature story “Prepare children for new rules at school” with Melissa Tenhet and David Buys, Extension health specialist.
Learn more about the CDC’s guidance for schools on their website.
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