Updated: Aug 29
Hello Families! How are things with you and your family since the implementation of mandatory masks in all public spaces that went live on August 1, 2020?
If you haven’t seen our first post on "Masking-up", check it out for some helpful tips on how to talk to your kids about masks. You may also want to know more about when, who, and how to wear a mask so it does its job of keeping everyone safe! Well then read on my friends!
When you need to wear a mask:
It’s been a few weeks now adjusting to this “new normal” of masking-up in indoor public spaces (like grocery stores, shopping malls, transit and now schools). There are some exceptions to this such as places and situations where wearing masks would prevent someone providing or receiving a service like dining.
Who needs to wear a mask:
There are also situations where someone may not be able to wear a mask, like people with underlying medical conditions that make it challenging to wear a mask. Children under two years of age is another exception to wearing a mask for various reasons such as the challenges and difficulties understanding and maintaining proper use and handling of masks.
I have a 2-year 3-month-old boy, who technically is over 2yrs and would require wearing a mask, but he’s that boy that hates wearing hats, socks, and shoes…. and yes you guessed it, masks too! Masking-up has had its challenges!
So really, families, how are you doing? Has masking-up been a challenge for you and your family? Have you heard your little kiddos say “It doesn’t feel right”, “It gets hot and wet”, “It’s itchy”, “It pulls on my ear”, or “Can I touch my face now?”.
Keep reading as we will cover some pointers on handling masks for you and your family.
Also, check out our next blog on the other challenges to this “new normal” for example:
knowing when, where, and how to break the chain of infection during a virus outbreak
A look into how the “new normal” has impacted you and your kiddo's emotions, stress levels, and anxiety.
Okay, let’s get started!
Checking your Mask
As school re-entry comes closer and with the new announcement that masks will be mandatory for Kinders through to Grade 12, masking-up is becoming more of a reality for our munchkins. Here are some tips when masking up your kiddos 2 years and up and the rest of your family.
Wash or sanitize your hands before putting on the mask.
Check if the mask is dirty or damaged. If yes, do not use!
When there are gaps or doesn’t fit well, find ways to adjust the ties at the back.
Ask your kiddo how it feels around the ears as prolonged use can cause some discomfort. Check out these kid-friendly hacks.
If using reusable masks (e.g., cloth), have multiples in rotation and label them to avoid another person using it. This might come in handy while out for outings or when school starts.
Wearing your Mask
Wearing a mask is one thing, how to use a mask is another! If masks are contaminated on the outside, and then incorrectly handled with, you can accidentally spread the infection. Kiddos wearing a mask for long periods of time can be uncomfortable and kids might want to touch it and adjust it. Challenging? Absolutely! This is all new for everyone, take your time talking it with your kids, demonstrate it for them, and have them demonstrate it back to you. Practicing putting on and off the mask might help your kiddos begin establishing a new norm and can help them be ready when needed.
Here are some tips to go over with your kiddos and the rest of your family with handling masks.
Once the mask is on, don’t touch the mask, the ties, ear loops, or your face outside or under the mask. This can be difficult to do, and with little ones might be even more difficult.
Have hand sanitizer with you to readily clean hands if there is touching of the mask or putting another clean mask on. For the kiddos, plan your outings and limit the time where masks are needed. This might help reassure those kiddos between 2-5 years of age that wearing a mask will be for just a short period of time.
Although it might cause some moisture, dampness, fogging up glasses, don’t wear it under your nose or pulled down so the whole mask rests under your chin. This defeats the purpose of wearing the mask in the first place.
If the mask is wet, torn, dirty, or damp, change it! Have one sealed bag for dirty and one sealed bag for clean. This might come in handy while out for outings or when school starts.
Wash or sanitize your hands before and after taking it off.
Take off the mask outwardly away from your face and place it in a sealed dirty bag for the rubbish or laundry if reusable.
Caring for your Mask
Caring for your reusable mask is important to help stop the spread of infection. This is where having separate sealed bags for your masks comes in handy. Label them with clean or dirty, and with names to avoid confusion. With the sealed bag labelled “dirty” masks, clean them using a hot cycle and then dried thoroughly. Once cleaned, store them in the bag labelled “clean” masks and you and your kiddos are ready to wear them again!
Choosing your mask
Take the time to compare the different masks out there. There are medical masks, non-medical masks, and homemade masks. Whether you are making or buying a mask, here are some helpful tips:
materials that can handle frequent hot washing cycles
have multiple layers of tightly-woven fabric (at least 2 layers)
fit securely against your face
allows for clear breathing
has different colours on each side to help identify which side faces you and the other side facing outwards.
Where to get masks?
If you are interested in making your own, take a look at COVID-19 non-medical masks and face coverings: Sew and no-sew instructions. It covers information on sew method using fabric, a non-sew method using a T-shirt, and no-sew method using a bandana.
Dust off that sewing machine or check out one of those local businesses for masks. Whichever one you choose, For up to date bylaws on masks, check COVID-19 - Face Coverings Bylaw for details.
Families, you’ve got this!