For those of you preparing to send your little ones back to school, we have compiled some tips and tricks to help make the transition smoother as well as safer!
Tips & Tricks for Mask Wearing
If your little one is reluctant to wear a mask it is likely a mixture of them being leary of the face coverings because they don’t understand them or may even fear them, as well as the new experience of having the material touching their skin and covering their mouth and nose. Even if the mask is soft and the proper size, new sensations like this can be especially uncomfortable for children. Helping your child become more comfortable in their face mask while at home in a safe comfortable environment is a great way to encourage a more positive attitude towards the personal protection equipment. Start by having them wear their mask whenever they have screen time. This encourages them to wear the mask, and will allow them to take their mind off of the new experience, all while becoming acclimated to the sensation.
Another way to promote a positive attitude towards their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is to allow them ownership and excitement for this new “accessory”. By letting your little ones choose their own masks, or even better yet, decorating some masks themselves, it lets them feel pride for what they made or chose. It is especially encouraging when they are told by others that they have a cute or cool mask. Check out these creative ways to personalize a simple mask and make it extra special or fun - https://www.fun365.orientaltrading.com/article/diy-face-masks
We all have likely thought about how kids will act once at school with their face masks, and some common topics that come up are mask swapping, loss, or laying masks on contaminated or unsanitary surfaces (bathroom counters for instance). To help with all three of these perceived issues we suggest a short craft project with your child - make a mask lanyard. You know those lanyards or chains used on reading glasses, that same principle being applied to masks helps in a number of ways. By attaching a lanyard to the mask, anytime your child removes it to eat or drink etc., it will stay securely on their person. In our craft below, we also suggest creating this lanyard using letter beads on cording so your kiddos name is easily seen in case they do misplace their mask. This will also help to dissuade trading with their classmates, but it isn’t a bad idea to include their name (in sharpie or fabric marker) on the inside of their mask as well.
Keeping up with masks is definitely a challenge when it comes to busy family schedules! Rushing out the door to school is the opportune time for your little one to forget their mask at home, or in the car. Create a place that the masks live when they are not being worn. We suggest having 5 masks if you are able, so they have one for each day of the week. This makes laundering them a breeze and something that can be done over the weekend. Have a place in your car (if they go to school and are picked up in the same vehicle) or near the door at home where you can hang clean masks and place dirty masks. Hanging temporary hooks and placing labels that say clean and dirty is one easy way to make this distinction. Another great option is to keep a small delicates/laundry bag in the car or near the front door where the dirty mask can easily be placed awaiting laundry day, and hanging up the clean ones so they are easy to grab on the way out the door. Our idea is to make mask wearing, storage, and care accessible and no longer such a chore.
Above all else, if we as parents are positive and encouraging about masks, then our kids will have a much more positive experience this school year. Attitude is such a learned behavior, and if they get the idea we are frustrated or dislike masks, then this will all be more difficult for them to get used to. Masks are a new experience for many and with these tips and tricks we hope they become less of a stress or nuisance, and rather stay just a way to add some extra protection for all of our little ones as they head off to school!
Hand Washing Techniques for Kids
There has been so much information shared on proper handwashing techniques to ensure true cleanliness, but honestly that seems daunting to our little ones and can be hard to explain. We suggest these learning practices to help encourage thorough hand cleaning.
When washing your hands you should wash for 30 seconds at least. It is so easy to time how long you wash by singing, “Happy Birthday..” to your hands two times as you scrub. If not happy birthday, help your child find another song they like that takes 30 seconds.
While washing your hands make sure you are getting every nook and cranny with this memory phrase to help scrub in this order so nowhere is forgotten -- Polar Bear Finally Finds Tacos -- Palms, Back of hands, Fingers & in between, Fingertips & nails, and Thumbs.
Help your kids learn to wash their hands often, and especially before and after eating and after playing. These two times have heightened germ potential. If hand washing availability isn’t great, try to include a hand sanitizer in their lunch box, and backpack.
Download this Handwashing sign to hang in your bathroom to help them learn the steps. Print Version can be found here: PRINT VERSION
Social Distance Greetings
If your child is like most, social distance greetings are a definite topic to address. High fives, fist bumps, hugs, etc., are all deemed unsafe and a sure fire way to spread germs. Here are a number of fun and creative ways to greet their classmates and teachers, without relying on physical contact! There are likely many guidelines in your kiddos school on social distancing, but with some of these priceless and contactless greetings in their repertoire following the rules will be a cinch!
Dusting off our vulcan salute, we wish you all the best during your back to school chaos! Or as Spock would say, “Live Long & Prosper”.