KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Adults caring for kids are finding it a difficult challenge to make sure kids are wearing masks at child care centers in Wyandotte County.
Across the state line in Kansas City, Missouri, early childhood educators are trying to make masks fun.
The operator of one daycare in Wyandotte County told FOX4 Tuesday that it’s been extremely difficult to get young children to comply with the new health regulations.
Kids aren’t used to wearing masks and many don’t understand why they have to wear them.
Social distancing also is a concept that young children have difficulty grasping.
At The Children’s Place, in Kansas City, Missouri, counselors have avoided detailed explanations, instead keeping the concept super simple.
Teachers have created social stories about superheroes who wear masks and capes.
And they have found young kids then become eager participants to take on those superhero roles.
“What we have done is we have created a method between wearing a mask and wearing a cape,” said Rebeca Chow, vice president of programming at The Children’s Place. “We are superheroes who are trying to keep each other safe. Developmentally, kids have capacity to understand things that are simple. If you really have the capacity to connect mask wearing with something they are familiar with: superheroes or keeping everybody safe.”
Counselors also teach children to smile with their eyes when wearing masks.
Chow says you can’t expect a 3-year-old to wear a mask all day, but consistency is important.
Adults have to model behavior they want their children to emulate.
Keeping distance is an easier concept for young kids, Chows says, because educators already teach young people about establishing a bubble around them, and having so-called personal space.
The Children’s Place also builds social interaction by having kids in the same classes, through their masks, show they are part of the same team.