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It’s certainly a challenging time for everyone, particularly for children and adults who struggle with Sensory Processing Disorder symptoms. For a lot of us, it's difficult to get our kids to wear clothes, not surprisingly, expecting them to wear a mask brings about a new set of challenges. I wanted to post this article with resources to help kids, and us parents too since life is already so different. Our kids are trying to adjust to the changes involved in navigating our “new normal” which can be particularly overwhelming for our families. 

Anxiety can cause us to be hyperarousal, making us feel our sensations more strongly. Sadly, Covid-19 makes many of us anxious, by decreasing anxiety, we can minimize the sensory over-responsivity. 

Here are some ideas to help your child wear a mask 

1. Be calm, play with the mask and make it a silly game.

2. Show them the mask, allowing them to feel it and smell it.

3. Wear a mask and model how to use a mask.

4. Read a social story explaining a mask and why we use them for safety.

5. Introduce the mask slowly and gradually.

6. Play doctor with your child and have them use a mask to take care of their stuffies.

7. Slow exposure to wearing a mask for seconds to begin and moving into a full minute to then several minutes at a time.

8. Have masks around the house to encourage their use, particularly close by in play areas which will inspire them to pick them up and try.

9. Normalizing masks will make them become more familiar and predictable.

10. Encourage your child by complimenting them when they pick up a mask or look at the mask. All small steps towards using a mask should be encouraged. Example: I am so proud of you! Wow, you did it. You are so brave. 

11. Build your child's confidence and allow them to become more comfortable with masks through sensory play, calming sensory activities' or heavy work activities.

12. Purchase a mask with your child's favorite characters on it or something they enjoy such as dinosaurs, flowers, unicorns, cartoons or a sports team. 

13. Masks are made from all different fabrics; some are more comfortable for some than others. Choose a fabric that your child prefers.

14. Don't force a child to wear a mask. It can be quite traumatic for them.

15. Talk to your child and explain to them why masks are important and how they protect us and keep us healthy.

16. Remember not to be so hard on yourself as a parent or caregiver. Sometimes no matter how accommodating you are and what steps to you take or how hard you try; they may never accept wearing a mask, but, you tried your best.

17. Our children shouldn't be forced to stay inside because that could have a negative impact on their mental health and well being. If they cannot wear a mask then explore new activities outdoors in which they will be able to social distance safely. 

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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