Expert tips on helping your child learn to wear a face mask

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The start of school is just weeks away, but many metro districts haven’t announced their plans for in-person classes yet. Regardless, parents are gearing up to possibly send their kids back to school with face coverings. 

Navigating the health crisis hasn’t always been easy for Jovan Franklin’s young kids.

“It’s hard for them to understand. I would say there’s been tears here and there because of it,” Franklin said.

But now social distancing and mask usage has become part of their everyday life. Doctors at Children’s Mercy have a few tips for parents

 “You want to associate with something they already know. So for example, small children, you might say, ‘We wear a mask to keep other people healthy the way we cover our mouth when we cough,'” Children’s Mercy clinical psychologist Gail Robertson said. 

Metro mom Shenita McAfee-Bryant said her 6-year-old daughter regularly wears a mask, but it can be a challenge in the summer heat. 

“When we’re outside, it’s more than 20 or 30 minutes, she’s struggling. She’s touching her face, moving it all around. It’s just not a fun situation,” McAfee-Bryant said. 

Robertson said the transition to masks can be smooth. She suggested practicing wearing a mask at home. 

“Older kids, they eventually have to learn to wear shoes and clothes and all sorts of things that are not necessarily very comfortable. Kids can learn how to do that,” Robertson said. 

Robertson also said parents should lead by example. It’ll help ease their children’s fears. 

Doctors do not suggest kids under the age of two wear face coverings because they can accidentally suffocate. 

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