How parents can get their kids to wear face masks

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Now is the time to teach children to wear masks, especially since it's required as they head back to school.

Dr. Rosibell Arcia, a pediatrician at Cook County Health, says it's important to set expectations for kids right now.

The first lesson is how a child should put on a mask.

"You want them to hold it on the sides," Dr. Arcia demonstrated. "On the sides, place it on your face, you have to cover your nose, make sure we cover our nose and cover our mouth....and then you are going to pull and put it on top of your ears."

What you say depends on the child's age. For kids under 3, Dr. Arcia says, "We try to be clear and short explanation. We want to just say, when people are sick, sometimes we have to wear a mask so we don't make other people sick."

Doctor Arcia says you can share more information with older children, it just depends on their development. And since kids are always watching, she is reminding parents that they play a huge role.

"You have to make sure as a parent you are wearing the mask, not complaining about it, or saying things that may sound negative to the child," Dr. Arcia said.

Overall, she says parents should just try to have fun and be playful.

"They put a mask on a teddy bear or a stuffed animal, right? That will make it for the kids something fun, something okay to do," Dr. Arcia suggested.

Along with masks, hygiene, like washing hands, is also critical.

"Make it a routine at home, something expected from them," Dr. Arcia said. "The more they do it at home, the more they'll get used to doing it outside the house as well."
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