I don’t know about the rest of you, but the novelty of mask-wearing has officially worn thin in my family. My nine-year-old son thought they were pretty cool at first — he even wanted to create reasons to have to wear them — but now he sees them for the uncomfortable inconvenience that they are. Unfortunately, he (and me, and you, and your kids) may still have several months of mask-wearing ahead of us.
We’ve given advice in the past for how to get little kids to wear masks, but this tip from Dr. Perri Klass in the New York Times was too good not to share: Put them in charge of masks by making them the “Family Mask Monitor.”
Little kids should be in charge of all mask reminders and details: They should check that all family members have their masks before you leave the home, they should make sure all masks are being worn properly (cover. that. nose.), and they should point out when anyone is touching the front of their masks or setting them on potentially contaminated surfaces (used masks should be stored in a plastic bag).
Klass explains why this works, and she is extremely correct:
Most children enjoy the chance to feel morally superior to adults (and adults often make this all too easy); go ahead and encourage a little righteousness. Remind them that they’re smarter than these grown-ups who are not protecting others and not protecting themselves; masks do both.
Making them “Mask Monitors” feeds that natural self-righteousness that children are known for — and it helps reinforce that they’re not just protecting themselves. They’re also protecting others.