First of all, rest assured, this is not a preachy post and I have ZERO intention of telling anyone how to live their life in any fashion. I also will not EVER take something like a virus and life and death situations and politicize them.
I like to think I’m a better person…. and smarter!… than that.
I’m also not here to say with absolute certainty that this way or that way is the perfect way. From my vantage point, when it comes to getting out of this horrific pandemic and to outrunning the COVID virus nationally and internationally, there is no ONE right way. There are only attempts – multiple attempts – to keep as many people safe and well as possible.
There are only attempts to keep from overwhelming out hospitals and hard-working, dedicated medical professionals.
There are only attempts to keep the precious children in our lives from being traumatized or negatively affected any more than they already have been WHILE keeping them as safe and as healthy as possible. Like immunization shots for a 1 year old, keeping children safe isn’t always pretty to behold. Sometimes it gets downright sad and you just want to jump in there and save them from any discomfort or pain.
Thing is, the very temporary thing we want to save them from is often the thing that will save them from a far worse fate.
Again, I’m not here to debate anything… masks included. Do I have my own opinions? Of course. And I will go ahead and say that I, personally, believe masks are effective. I’ve believed it all along (after all we’re talking about a respiratory virus, after all) but my beliefs were confirmed when (after the masks were lifted and removed) numbers went through the roof again.
For those who say that social distancing would be as effective – I agree, social distancing would be as effective. However, we can’t always determine how close someone gets to us in public and we darn sure can’t assume kids will adhere to distancing themselves from anyone.
Those little cuties want to get right up on everyone!
I know it can be debated, too, that children don’t get “as sick” as adults but, frankly, I raised three daughters and cannot remember ever thinking… “Oh, shucks, I’m going to let them play with those kids who have the flu… after all, my girls won’t get that sick.” I have three grandbabies now and cannot for the life of me imagine be willing to expose them to a virus simply because they MAY NOT get “as sick” as adults.
Sometimes the solution to a problem isn’t very attractive, but if you compare it to the alternative, it gets a little bit more agreeable.
Again, there is no one clear RIGHT answer to any of this. Chances are when your child (grandchild, niece, nephew, brother, sister…) starts the school year here in a matter of days, he or she will be required to wear a mask.
Below are a few tips that can help them… because, let’s be adults, here… they are absolutely the ones we should be thinking about:
- Try to never EVER talk in an angry manner (and, for Heaven’s sakes, don’t cry!) about masks or mask mandates in front of your child. Children (of all ages) are incredibly, incredibly sensitive and will pick up on your emotions. What they pick up on will greatly effect their own emotions and outlook. Regardless of your personal feelings (and, trust me, I understand completely – the thought of children, especially small ones, having to wear masks all day breaks my heart)… be as strong as you’ve ever been in your life and treat it all as an adventure, something that, while temporary, has to be done. The children in our lives very often reflect us and if you’re stressed, angry, and overwhelmed, they will be as well. That’s the last thing they need to deal with on top of the stress of a new school year… which is, of course, on top of the pandemic!
- When you talk about masks, try very hard to be as matter of fact as possible. The bigger an issue you make of it, the bigger an issue it will be to them.
- Keep in mind how incredibly resilient and adaptable children are. They always amaze me at how they adjust and adapt – they do so far better than those of us who consider ourselves adults!
- If your child has a health issue that would prohibit them from wearing a mask for extended periods of time, talk to your child’s physician and educators to find the best solution. I have (and have always had) chronic asthma and would not (today or as a child) be able to wear a mask for extended periods of time. I have no idea what could be done to help a child with asthma, but something would desperately need to be done. What seems like “no big deal,” to an asthmatic is a big deal. Yes, you can still breath through the mask, but… and remember, I know what I’m talking about, here, first hand… when you have asthma, even the slightest reduction in oxygen flow seems like you’re breathing through a collapsed straw. Children with anxiety would also need to have special considerations. Please talk to doctors and educators about the best thing for your child. If they are unwilling to help you, you will have a big decision to make – one I know that will put your child’s needs first.
- As an asthmatic, I’ve found that disposable masks often feel less restrictive. My youngest daughter has clinical anxiety and has also found that disposable ones feel better to her. You just have to make sure you have a really, really good number of these masks and be sure to throw them away each day. It’s very unhealthy to wear one more than one day at a time. Amazon has wonderful Disposable Kids Masks in a wide variety of colors. Kids would get a kick out of matching them to their different outfits.
- Children who are a little hard of hearing and tend to read lips also will need special consideration. If this is an issue for your child, be sure to talk to his/her teachers and ask for their help. Given that teachers have so many children to take care of, it may be something you need to mention several times over the weeks or months that masks will be in use. You could always simply say, “Thanks again so much for helping my child with this situation…”
- Show your child photos of children wearing masks and being happy – SHOW them that it’s all going to be okay. They need this from you right now more than anything. BE the positive energy they need to feed on.
- Finally, let your child pick out masks they like. Not only do stores have a wide selection of children’s masks, Amazon has MANY in different colors and styles. There are masks for every interest. Children love to express themselves, whether they’re in 1st grade or high school and masks allow them to do just that. Be sure to get them a good number of masks, so that one is always washed, dried, and ready to go. Some of the coolest, most FUN children’s face masks can be found here. Again, kids will get a kick out of matching masks to their outfits and favorite sports teams.
Whether it’s mask mandates, vaccine controversies, closed restaurants, quarantine, or any of the other things that have become part of our daily routines, remember this – we WILL get through this. There will be better days…. normal days… and we will never take a single one of them for granted! Everything is going to be better one day, and I believe that one day will be very soon. In the meantime, try to keep the best attitude and outlook you can.
Keep your sense of humor as much as humanly possible and don’t let any of the stress make you turn into someone that would have horrified you two years ago. Becoming a bitter, angry, and judgmental person does NOT have to be anyone’s destiny, no matter how ugly the valley is.
I know much too smart to let that happen!
Remember we are all in this together – none of us are the enemy… the virus is the enemy and it will take all of us to kick it’s vile butt to the curb!
Make each moment count double,
~ Joi (“Joy”)
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