HOW TO MAKE MASKS THE NEW NORMAL FOR YOUR KIDS

“The New Normal”, that’s what they’re calling it.  

A way of living and adapting while coexisting with COVID-19: AND IT IS HARD.  It’s hard for us as parents and it is hard for our children too. Things are different now and with that can come feelings of insecurity and anxiety for all.

Every time I am in the grocery store I am still taken back by the fact that everyone is wearing facial coverings. Even though it is required, it still feels weird, overwhelming, and even a little scary. Many of our children will experience similar emotions in response to masks.

As a parent, one concern you may have regarding mask-wearing may be about your child’s emotional well being. Children who feel anxious about masks may need help getting comfortable with this new norm. There are resources to guide you in how you can help decrease your child’s anxiety towards masks. On the other hand, many children will not be phased by mask-wearing or will easily adjust to this “new normal”.

The truth is, we are concerned and we think it is important to raise awareness on this topic. But at the same time, a situation like has never happened before; therefore, the evidence and research are lacking to determine the specific impact that masks may or may not have on a child’s speech and/or language development.

Here are 8 tips on how to improve communication while wearing a facial mask covering:

  1. Speak clearly. Make it a point to enunciate words and sentences
  2. Exaggerate speech sounds if needed
  3. Speak in a slow, unhurried way
  4. Decrease background noise if possible
  5. Turn up your speaking volume. Use a deep breath to help project your voice
  6. Be expressive with your eyes (our eyes show happy, sad, and scared emotions)
  7. Use gestures or body language to support your verbal message (act out action verbs)
  8. Show the child objects as you speak about them

And guess what? You can control something else too! You can make a positive impact on your child’s speech and language development when you are at home and not wearing a mask. This is SO important. Your next thought may be, how can I do this in addition to everything else that I am taking on right now? 

We’ll teach you how you can maximize communication opportunities at home during the everyday routines that you are already doing. You don’t need to carve out extra time in your day “to do” speech therapy. You can make up a lot of face to face “talk time” at home. 

You got this!

REFERENCES:

“Cloth face coverings,” 2020. ( June 5, 2020). Cloth face coverings for children during COVID-19. American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Cloth-Face-Coverings-for-Children-During-COVID-19.aspx

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