March 27, 2023

A quick poll on Facebook asked: How will you make your child wear a face mask to school?

This article will tell you how the parents (mostly women) responded to the question. However, the important underlying issue in the question is how the children’s face mask relates to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Catherine Pearson posted an article on “What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus And Face Masks For Kids” on the website outlining some important points on wearing face masks. We explore this with how parents in the Philippines will relate this important equipment with the resumption of classes tentatively scheduled for May 31, 2020.

1. There is no official guideline by the American Pediatric Society on the recommendations for children’s’ masks yet. It is not a substitute for social distancing says the article.

2. The American Center for Disease Control recommendations do specify that face masks and cloth face coverings should not be placed on anyone younger than two because their air passages are still small and developing. Keep them indoors.

“My baby niece who just turned one wears her mask without trouble, as long as she sees us doing the same, “Monkey see, monkey do” is what we say,” Jo Villanueva, baker.

3. If you are making a mask for your kids, just do the best with what you’ve got, the article says. Kids’ masks don’t need to be different than adults’ masks. Material-wise, cotton is your best bet, and you can really make do with what you’ve got at home. Think pillowcases and old t-shirts. But the more important point is that children are asymptomatic carriers of the disease with mild symptoms of colds and cough and can spread Covid-19. “The bottom line is that wearing a mask is better for reducing the spread of Covid-19 than not wearing one,” Dr. Rob Darzynkiewicz, chief medical officer of Hazel Health said according to Pearson.

“Bring with them two extra masks and giving them treats after school kung sinuot ba nila ito (if they wore it) the whole school day,” says Jes Daliones, a mother.

“Branded masks. Think back to Sanrio childhood. Honestly, it’s difficult to be wearing mask for hours straight, without taking them off to breathe fresh air. Advice from a former clinical dentist,” says Khristine Cariño Pablo

“But if not available, we gave our apo sa pamangkin na kikay ng (our vain granddaughter from a niece a) pink and lavender color masks,” says Chi Laigo Vallido, a non-government organization worker

4. Have your child practice at home first. “If you think your child might keep a mask on, the first thing you want to do is make sure they understand that they have to try and not touch it,” said Dr. Katherine Williamson, a pediatrician with CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital in California.

“It can also help your child feel calm and in control if they get some experience wearing a mask with you, at home, before they’re out in the real world,” says psychologist Joy Kamamura. But additionally, encourage them to wash their hands often.

“Start training them at home,” says Angelie Pamela Cariño.

“I have apos sa nephews and they enjoy wearing masks even at home. It’s very important for adults to be good models – so if they don’t complain, the children won’t complain too,”

5. Be open about why people are wearing masks — and let them ask questions. “Your kid might be confused or, frankly, freaked out about why they’re being asked to wear a mask for the first time, or why they’re suddenly surrounded by adults who are. So have a frank conversation now about why this is all happening, tailored to their age. Keep it simple,” says Kendra Read, a psychologist with Seattle Children’s.

“My kids already wear face masks when they leave the house to walk on our street (we live on a private road). They know the drill, practice social distancing, etc.,” says artist and mother Lissa Romero de Guia.

“First, they must know by now the importance of wearing it. Second, tell them they look good with it,” says Eli Donaal, a father and uncle.

Para di hulihin ng barangay at di kapitan ng veerus (Explain that with the mask they won’t get caught by the barangay and so they won’t catch the virus),” says Tessa Reyes.

“Smart kids wear masks… explain the pros and cons of it,” says Angela Cortez.

“Talk to them about the need to wear mask and about the virus. And the consequences if they get infected because of not wearing one,” says Lino Tabangin, an uncle.

“I was about to ask din puwedeng moustache mask?” says Rhoda Carbonel, a professor

6. Remember: masks are NOT a replacement for social distancing or hand-washing. “The guidance is still to be staying at home and to do social distancing and avoid high-touch areas,” said the article.

“When they had school they willingly did,” says journalist Miguel Ongpin.

“Bribery, never fails,” says businessman Edgardo Nevada.

Parents’ attitudes are still the key to children wearing face masks. You must explain the purpose of the face mask and the role that they play in keeping themselves and other people safe from Covid-19. Keep them safe.