11 Practical Tips for Helping Children Wear Masks When Visiting
Uncontested Divorce Mediation
Posted February 24, 2021
Visitation is an essential element of child custody agreements in Denver divorce mediation, and of co-parenting in general. Visitation allows for a growing parent-child relationship no matter where a child primarily lives. Even 50/50 custody splits include visitation when a child lives for long periods of time with one parent or the other. Likewise, relatives and family friends will visit and nurture relationships with children, and children will visit those who watch them when parents are occupied.
This used to be a natural part of life, but since the pandemic, every visit is something to carefully consider. From your ex to grandparents to visiting childcare, now viral safety must be considered for the entire household. While children rarely show symptoms, they can also be carriers for visitors with at-risk household members. However, co-parents, relatives, and childcare are all essential to a working child custody system after Denver divorce mediation – Both for practical childcare and nurturing parent-child relationships despite closed household bubbles.
So today, we’re dedicating an article to an all-important parent concern when visiting or being visited by relatives this season: Helping your kids to wear masks. The safest way to visit, both in-home and out-of-home visits determined by your Denver divorce mediation agreement, is for everyone to wear masks when sharing space. So whether you’re walking down the street or visiting grandma, it can be a struggle get kids to safely and comfortably wear their masks.
Here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way:
Willing Mask Participation Tips
We’ll start with a few ways to help your kids actually want to put on the masks – or at least cooperate without complaining too loudly. Younger kids can get involved as a shared family activity while older kids will usually respond best to some real-talk about why, how, and what they get out of participating.
1. Decorative Masks are More Fun to Wear
Kids can often get into wearing any accessory they view as “fun”. This can mean stylish, cool, sparkly, or featuring a favorite cartoon character. You know what turns junk into treasure for your kid, so find some masks that meet that theme. Your teen might be into skull-jaw masks while younger kids may be more into super hero styles.
2. Family Mask-Up and Pose-Off
Make masking-up a family activity and focus on fun. Show off your masks and how they match an outfit. Have a cool or stylish pose-off at the front-hall mirror (install a front-hall mirror) before leaving the house. This makes masking up a fun time and creates an excuse to play for a moment before visitors arrive or you leave to visit.
Admire Visitors’ Masks as a Greeting (Invite Compliments Back)
Make mask admiration a thing. When you meet someone, compliment their mask as part of your “hello” and invite others to do the same. This puts more positive focus on masks and brings a chance for your child to collect compliments.
3. Older Kids: Have a Real-Talk
For older children, sit them down and talk about the viral situation. Talk about how breath particles travel, who is at risk, and why we wear the masks. Many older kids will be more interested in “Keeping grandma safe” than preserving their own safety – especially because children rarely experience serious symptoms. Answer their questions and lay out that the mask thing is necessary. If they have younger siblings, become partners in convincing the younger kids to mask-up.
4. Offer Incentives
Outright bribe your children to wear masks by rewarding them at mask-off time. Implement a cookie jar policy or a few extra minutes of play time for every successfully masked visit or outing.
Mask Comfort & Securing Tips
Keeping masks on children can also be tough because the masks are uncomfortable and/or slip off over time. Kids pull the mask off their ears or down under their nose. The only way to make it work is the same thing we as adults do: make the masks comfortable enough that we almost forget the mask is on. So here are a few ways to help your kids (and your own) masks feel more comfy and stay on.
5. Plastic Mask Inserts
Hate the way the mask constricts or sticks to your nose and mouth? So do your kids and everyone else. That’s why plastic mask inserts have become popular. These frames create a rounded space between your face and the mask fabric. Ideally, they tuck into a pocket around the edge of the mask, like an insert. They come in adult and child sizes.
6. Mask “Spacers” Turn Earbands into a Headband
Your kids likely pull the ear elastics off of their ears regularly. It’s understandable, elastic gets uncomfortable after a while. The best solution is a spacer. It hooks both ear-straps and connects it behind the head. In other words, the ear-bands are pulled into a headband. Not only is this more comfortable for your child, it’s also more secure for long-term visits as outlined in your Denver divorce mediation agreement and play outdoors.
7. Button Headbands as Earband Anchor-Points
Another great innovation is the button-headband. These hats and wrap-around headbands have two buttons sewn in just above the temples. They hook mask ear straps to save the ears and are perfect for winter-time masks with the bundle-up.
8. Stock Up on the Most Comfortable Cloth Washable Masks
When you find a washable cloth mask that your child likes, buy a stack of them. Wash them every day and create a basket where a fresh mask can always be grabbed. This makes it quick, easy, and safe to always put a clean mask on your child when visitors are arriving or it’s time to leave the house.
9. Install Buttons, Pockets, and Straps as Necessary
Don’t be afraid to alter the masks once you have them. A few buttons, cut and tied straps, new straps, or new designs are all possible. Follow a few how-to videos. It’s not too hard to wield a needle-and-thread or try one of the many work-around tools available. If a mask is -almost perfect but needs a pocket or strap changed, go for it.
Mask Safety Tips
Finally, let’s talk a few simple tips to make sure each comfy child (and adult) mask is safe. How do you know if a mask is secure enough, or filtering enough? Here’s how to know.
10. Cloth, Filters, and the Candle Test
The first safety concern is the mask filter density. A simple cloth mask can be dense enough, or you can install a disposable/washable filter. The trick is the candle test. If you can blow out a candle through the mask, it’s not thick enough. If you can’t blow out the candle, each mask is good to go. This defines whether particles from breath can escape or get into your child’s (and your own) mask.
11. All the Way Around
Make sure the mask connects with the face all the way around. There’s no point if air is passing under or around the chin. This is why kids need child-sized masks and mask inserts. Make sure masks fit and make alterations to earpiece mounting or even mask sizing to make it work comfortably.
As parents, keeping kids safe can be challenging. Household immunity bubbles increase the challenge with co-parenting and visiting relatives. Everything gets easier if your kids can put on their masks and keep them on for important visiting periods. We hope these tips have made your co-parenting logistics a little easier. For more insights on practical divorce terms, management, and Denver divorce mediation services, contact us today.
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