Face Mask Familiarisation for Children

From 11:59pm on Friday 26 February, face masks must be carried at all times, and worn in large retail settings, public transport, taxis, Uber and rideshares, high risk settings and where you cannot maintain 1.5 metres social distance. 

Children under the age of 12 are not required to wear a mask, and children under 2 should not wear a mask. It can be important to remember that this can change how we appear to our children. There are a few ways we can help them with this adjustment.

Social Cues

face mask for children

Remember that while we are wearing a mask that they cannot see our mouth and nose which can limit the information our children get for social cues. You can help with this by naming how you are feeling, and using other forms of communication: eye contact, tone of voice, gestures, sounds & posture.

Our Attitude

dolls wearing face masks

Feeling relaxed and familiar with how and when to wear our masks will help our children feel relaxed too. If they ask questions about mask wearing keep your explanations simple and age appropriate.

Communicate that wearing masks is positive by saying, “Wearing masks helps keep our family and our community safe.”                                                                        

Getting Familiar with Masks

Here are some suggestions to help your child get familiar with masks and seeing you wear one. Remember to use a clean unused mask for play, and this mask will then been considered ‘contaminated’ and not usable as face protection.

Let them touch and feel the mask

face mask for children
  • Allow them to play with the mask, putting it on a favourite toy or teddy
  • If you’re sewing masks make a small one for their toy
  • Play peek-a-boo with it, holding it to your face and moving it away again
  • With older children play, ‘how do I look different, how do I look the same?’

Creating Routine

Just as we put on our shoes and coats as we leave the house, we will now be putting on our mask. You can say, “Lets get ready for our walk by putting our shoes on. Mummy/daddy needs to put their mask on, I’ve got the keys. Okay, we’re ready to go.” Routine and predictability helps build security, and will help your child adapt to mask wearing. 

Smile with Your Eyes

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Content is a contribution from our Supported Playgroup team.

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