Kids in child care adjust to wearing face masks

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – Face coverings will be required for students in the fall. Some parents aren’t too happy about that rule, but it’s a requirement kids in child care have been following.

“Wearing stuff on your face isn’t really fun,” said Kayli Vaugn, an 8-year-old student at Into the Forest Learning Center.

Kayli, along with other kids at the child care center, don’t enjoy wearing face masks, but know why it’s important to wear one.

“You should definitely wear it inside because you’re near a lot of people when you’re inside. you’re not really spreaded out,” she said.

Megan Benedict, the owner of the child care center, said it was difficult for kids to wear face masks and wear them correctly. It still kind of is hard.

“Put your mask on your face. Where’s your mask at?” phrases Benedict has been telling kids for the last few months.

Benedict says it’s gotten better since the beginning.

“The kids are kind of understanding because they’re having to do it at home, or going to the store with their parents, things like that,” she said. “They’re understanding it a little bit more and it’s made it a lot easier for them.”

At her early learning center, she tries to get kids outside more instead of inside so they don’t have to wear masks and get some fresh air. Masks are not required outdoors.

Because of that, Benedict says the kids wear the masks about three to five hours a day. She thinks it’ll be difficult for teachers and students once school reopens.

“I think they’re going to find that going into school with all these regulations, they’re going to have a much harder time with kids paying attention, listening and following the rules,” she said. “It’s going to be much more of a struggle than what they think they’re going to be.”

RELATED: Spokane Public Schools weighing options for reopening school, safety a priority

READ: Report: Opening schools without preventative measures may lead to ‘significant increase’ of COVID-19

Social distancing in child care centers is difficult. Benedict says she would tell kids to stay apart, but they won’t.

In school settings, she said students need that interaction with their peers and teachers.

“That’s part of school – being able to talk to your friends and they want to limit that, which that’s a hard thing for kids to do when they’re used to seeing them for 6 hours a day, playing talking interacting with them, and all of a sudden you can’t do that,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a huge difficulty on the teachers and it’s going to be a lot of stress on the kids and the teachers and the school districts if that’s the way its going to be.”

When it comes to wearing face masks for hours on end, there are ways to prepare kids. Here are some tips from the Washington State Department of Health:

  • Be a role model as the adult, and wear face masks in public
  • Encourage kids to wear them
  • Practice wearing them at home
  • Make mask-wearing a positive experience
  • Let kids choose their mask or help decorate them
  • Dress up stuffed animals and dolls with masks before putting it on kids
  • Thank them for protecting others

READ: ‘He was a kindergartner and kept his mask on all day, every day’: Dad shares son’s story as parents worry about school mask mandate