As COVID-19 restrictions slowly begin to ease up, many of us are venturing into public spaces. Those public spaces, however, look far from normal. As grownups, we know we’re required to wear face coverings for safety and health reasons. But it’s unsettling—especially when we’re used to small moments of connection we make through a friendly smile. If it’s strange for us, what does a child think? And how do we answer their questions? Below find tips from Rebecca Parlakian, senior director of programs at Zero to Three. See original article.
For toddlers, it’s important to answer only the questions they ask. Avoid sharing “too much” information that might be confusing (e.g., what does contagious mean). Some common questions might be:
- Is the mask a costume? (No, sometimes people wear masks when they are sick or to help keep them safe so they won’t get sick.)
- Can the person still talk? (Yes. The mask covers their mouth, but they can still talk. Just like if I put my hand over my mouth, I can still talk.)
- Are they scary or a “bad” person? (No. The mask covers up part of their face, but that doesn’t mean they are scary or bad. They are wearing a mask because they are sick or to keep other people from getting sick. That’s all.)
- Will I get sick? (Everybody gets sick sometimes. If you get sick, Mama/Daddy will take care of you until you are all better. The doctors will help you, too.)