The pandemic world is fraught with complications, but if there is one challenge that has weighed on many moms’ mind – the mask. This is an especially tough problem to navigate for children with sensory sensitivities. To them, a mask can feel like an overwhelming muzzle. We want our children to be comfortable, but we also want to keep them and others safe as well. For their sake, we have compiled these tips for helping kids with special needs wear masks.
Choose the Right Mask
With governors and local leaders across the country mandating masks, people have gotten incredibly creative with making home made masks. Because of this, there are a variety of masks to choose from. Look into the different types of masks to find one that is best for your child’s face shape and size. Pay attention to how tight the masks adhere to your child’s face, as well as the material the mask is made from. Choosing a material your child is already used to may make them more likely to want to wear it. Also, look at the part of the mask that goes around your child’s ears. If it’s made of tiny strings or rubber bands, it may become painful and irritating.
Try a Non-Mask Mask
Most locations are fine with alternative face coverings, and these may be more comfortable for your child. Scarves, bandanas, or ear bands can all be worn over the face in a way that covers the nose and mouth. These options work well because they don’t have to go over the ears and are often made of softer material that your children may be more used to and don’t cling to the face as tightly.
Help Kids Become Acclimated
Any material that you aren’t used to is bound to be uncomfortable. Take time with your kids at home to help them get used to the material of the mask. Have them practice holding the mask in their hands or rubbing it against their face. This will help them get used to the texture and the sensation of the mask. Slowly work them up to putting the mask on for shorter periods of time and then longer to ease them into wearing it for longer outings.
Practice Mask Maintenance
The physical texture of the mask is not the only sensation that may bother your child. The scent of the mask may also become overwhelming, especially after its been worn a lot of times. Washing a mask regularly is already recommended for the sake of their health, but doing this will also help keep them smelling fresh. Regular washing will also keep the fabric less itchy and irritating.
We all want to help our kids navigate the world, and masks are now part of the world we live in. Helping kids with special needs wear a mask is just another way to help give our kids the best chance to get along in the world. For them, the effort is always worth it.