Masks or no masks: How to help kids navigate social settings

Back To School

DENVER (KDVR) — Heading into this school year, some districts are requiring students to wear masks, and others are recommending them. Psychologists say now is a good time to talk to your child and get them prepared.

That’s something Laura-Anne Cleveland has already done. Cleveland is a mother of five children ages seven to 13 who attend Douglas County Schools, where masks will be highly recommended but not required.

The registered nurse is asking all of her kids to mask up for school, even the oldest two, who have been fully vaccinated.

“They are mad. They are very upset because they said they did the right thing by getting the vaccine, they should be allowed to not wear masks. So, we talked a lot about that ultimately our goal is to protect our friends and our family,” Cleveland said.  

She knows some kids at school will wear masks and others won’t. Cleveland is telling her kids to be respectful of every family’s choice.

“I think peer pressure is going to be a really big factor,” she said.

How parents can talk to their children about being respectful

Psychologist Dr. Anat Geva says that’s an important conversation to have.

“How do we show respect for another person and their choices, but also have our own boundaries and stick to what we feel is right for us and our family?” she said.

Geva is the lead clinician and supervisor at HealthONE Behavioral Health and Wellness Center at the Medical Center of Aurora.

She says parents can offer their child words to use if they feel as though they are being put down or getting upset.

“I understand that you are, or are not, choosing to wear a mask, and that’s your choice, and I have my own choice,” is one example Geva gave. “I wouldn’t go further than that.”

If your child is upset about needing to wear a mask again, Geva says to empathize with them and then show how it could benefit them as well.

She says if you want your kids to be more tolerant and accepting, parents need to model that at home.

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