Teaching good habits now starts with Doctors teaching parents and kids about masks so we don’t teach kids to form bad habits when they’re around their friends.
By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief
I’m a parent and I’m doing this right now with our kids. But, I think Doctors should take the lead and start having these conversations with parents in the exam rooms now, before we all start school.
With school announcements coming our way in many counties around the U.S., the safety of our kids is a top priority. And for parents … “It’s not IF they’re going to be asked to wear a mask, it’s a matter of when.”So, lets teach our kids know the right way to put them on, keep them on, adjust them, and why they’re important and part of our lives right now.
I know there are a lot of mixed opinions on this topic. Regardless of your opinion on the topic, that’s not what this story or podcast today is about. This is actually about teaching our kids (of all ages) that if/when they are asked to wear a mask … that they wear it correctly.
This education should start with Parents and Doctors.
These are important conversations and opportunities Doctors can and should be having right now in the summer months with Patients who are parents and might be bringing their kids with them to your office.
As schools move in various parts of our world towards in-person, classroom teaching … the question isn’t “If they are going to be asked [or in some places, required] to wear a mask … but when.”
We should teach them now before they learn from their friends some bad habits.
Kids, especially teenagers have not provided great examples of social distancing. As parents we can lovingly encourage them to do the right thing … but oftentimes, peers set the example despite our best efforts. We all know that teens and middle school age kids can develop bad habits very quick. So teaching them where to touch a mask, pull it down or up if it happens to slip is important.
Doctors can start these conversations. Many already have. Doctors can talk and teach parents the right way to do mask hygiene, mask up and those little things parents can in turn teach their kids.
You might also want to be unaware of the fact that for younger kids, elementary age and younger, they’re scared of masks. It’s called “Maskophobia“. Yes, it’s a real thing. This is a normal fear for children according to Roberto Olivardia, from Harvard Medical School. “Children don’t always understand that a person is beneath the mask, so help introduce masks slowly in a comfortable setting.”
Teaching our kids (I have 3 by the way) to do this right now during the summer months and before they return to school is important to keep our kids safe, our families healthy and our friends/community safe too.
So, regardless of how you feel about the topic, I hope you understand that a Doctor can provide invaluable insight into this topic. They can help teach parents and our kids some great habits now about wearing masks, how to do it, answer and invite those seemingly silly questions and remember … “It’s not if they’re going to wear a mask someday, it’s about when they will be asked to wear one …” that we want to prepare our kids the right way before bad habits set in.
Here are some additional helpful/educational resources FOR DOCTORS and PARENTS to aid in the education and discussion about masks, fear and safety.