By Melissa Minter
Is it possible to do one without getting the other? YES it is!
With careful planning and following social distancing rules, it is absolutely possible to travel safely and have fun while making memories for years to come! The most common concern right now is from parents of small children, and how to get their child(ren) to keep on or even wear the mask and do it the entire time they are required to. There are so many different personalities held by our children, even in the same family nucleus, that it makes having the perfect answer to any issue darn near impossible. I think the key to getting most children to do what you need for them to do is COMFORT. I talk about comfort not just as how the physical mask feels on the face but comfort in the concept. They need to feel comfortable doing the activity in order for it to be a non issue. First and foremost, parents need to find the right mask for their child(ren). Not all children are going to agree as to what is comfortable. Unfortunately this becomes trial and error and can be costly in multi child households. My tip is to go bigger. Some tweens and teens prefer adult size masks. Likewise small children may feel more comfortable in a mask that doesn’t feel tight so try a tween/teen mask for small children. Sew or tie the ear pieces to ensure it stays on but does not feel too tight. My family discovered this fall the Disney masks are small, shrink, and are thicker which makes it harder to breathe. I suggest checking out the Disney branded masks from Old Navy if you and your child want the Disney theme. They are more child friendly compared to in park Disney masks. Just because the mask is comfortable (larger) doesn’t make it unsafe it can still be worn properly.
For those of us traveling with children capable of understanding at least some aspect of the safety issues surrounding COVID, it is important to teach to their level. Have them watch age appropriate videos showing what is important. Such as not touching things and staying clear of others. Understanding will go a long way to help your child(ren) follow the rules to wearing their mask. Another way to help with this is showing your child(ren) pictures and videos of their heroes and role models wearing masks and following safety measures. Our kiddos love to mimic so what better way to work things to an advantage than getting them excited about safety and wearing a mask because their favorite character does!
The final key to getting your child(ren) to wear a mask safely is repetition. This can take time depending on your child(ren). Start by wearing your mask often. Wear it inside to get them used to seeing it. Let your child(ren) have a mask to keep with them and ‘play’ with. You can even get their dolls a mask. Ask them to wear their mask at home while you are wearing it. Watch a favorite show together wearing masks. This will engage your child(ren) while they get used to feeling the mask on; allowing them to get used to it but not have the mask be the center of attention. Take the kids for a walk and ask them to wear the mask with a reward system in place for each 15 minutes they keep it on. Do this daily upping the time period to 30 minutes then a reward for the entire walk or outing. During the outing have your child(ren) participate in an adventure like a scavenger hunt or simply point out things along the way to keep their mind off wearing the mask. Repetition can be your best tool in achieving our goal for our children to wear masks properly and safely during a COVID vacation. Teaching our kids to wear masks is not always going to be simple. Some of our child(ren) don’t feel comfortable wearing clothes much less a mask. But making this something we do all the time with a comfortable feeling mask can help significantly. Seeing everyone else doing it makes it so much easier to encourage them to do it too! For once that argument can work in our favor!
Mask wearing does NOT have to limit your vacation. It is possible to teach and guide our children to make good choices and feel comfortable doing it!
With all of the booking safe guards in place, right now is the perfect time to book and plan a family adventure. Book now and start working with your child(ren) to be ready for your Magical adventure!
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