Masks are the #1 tool to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. And for the most part, most people in our area are wearing them.
Except for my toddler. Which was ok if we are home, except that we recently had a family emergency that forced us to go on a plane, where everybody aged 2+ is required wear a mask for the duration of the flight. Yikes! I had to do something to convince my little one to wear a mask.
My now 2.5 daughter, Mia, is very well aware that we wear masks all the time, she's seen them for many months now, she even sees her older sister wear one. But every time we tried to put one on her, she'd refused, screamed, ripped it off her face. So we had to device a plan:
Here is step-by-step how we managed to get her to wear a mask:
1. We bought really cute masks. At first I bought a pack from the Disney store. They took a really long time to arrive, and they are cute, but I'd say not the most comfortable on the ears, as the straps are a bit too thick for a little child (the pictures they show must be from a prototype). I then started searching online and found out that over-the-head straps are much easier on children. I found this Etsy shop makes super cute and comfy ones. But what really appealed to my daughter was seeing her favorite characters in her mask. This Etsy shop makes super comfy masks featuring everybody's favorite superhero or character - plus they can customize it for you (I asked for over-the-head straps!).
2. We started putting masks on my daughter's favorite dolls and stuffies. At first, she'd rip them off their faces, saying "they don't like wearing masks!", but we kept on doing it, pointing our how "cool" they looked and how "safe" they were being.
3. We then watched together the episode of Daniel the Tiger made especially to explain quarantine and COVID19 to kids. They didn't show too many characters wearing masks, but it was a good start to the conversation.
We also found a few videos on YouTube that reinforced the message. This one is quite helpful.
4. We modeled ourselves wearing masks. Instead of automatically putting our masks and going out, we made a point of explaining to her why we were wearing them, noting how "cool" they are and how they keep us safe.
It took us about a week - but we made it! I really hope this isn't the new normal - but for now, I celebrate my little victory and I hope my experience can help other parents who are going through the same challenge.