Helping kids to wear cloth face coverings

Are your children wearing pants? Do they know where their shoes are? We’re off our routine, the kids aren’t really leaving the house, and some of us have changed our standards for appropriate daily wear. But now that the weather is getting warmer and the state parks are open, the outdoors is beckoning. Time to get the kids in shoes and cloth face coverings.

putting a face covering on a child

When we meet someone on the trail or anywhere we are physically unable to maintain a six-foot distance, we need to cover our mouth and nose with a couple layers of cloth. Even the kids, if they are more than two years old.

While some children will not have any trouble with this at all, others may struggle. It might feel weird to them, it might slip around, and it’s harder to put things in your mouth when it’s covered. Here are ways that you can help your child adjust to wearing a cloth face covering. Maybe some of them work for pants, too.

Start small.
Have your child “help” you by holding their face covering. Over the next few days, gradually move to wearing it hooked on their ears and around their neck like a scarf, then on their face. Have them wear it for longer stretches, during activities they enjoy, like watching their favorite show or dancing to their favorite song.

Offer praise.
Give high-fives, hugs, treats, or an extra book at bedtime as a way of rewarding them.

Model the behavior you want to see.
Leave your cloth face covering where your child can see it. Wear it while doing simple tasks, like washing dishes or folding laundry so that it becomes more normal.

Making face coverings at home? Let kids help!
Let your child help make their own face covering. Have them pick the fabric and decorate it. Participation makes them naturally more invested in wearing them.

Explain why it is important.
Share the good things that face coverings can do, rather than the bad things a virus can do. Let them know that everyone is doing extra things to stop germs from spreading.

Practice compassion

Are you and the kids really good at making cloth face coverings? Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib has challenged us to make, wear, and donate cloth face coverings. See WAmaskChallenge for details!

More information

Stay tuned to our blog for more information on how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19. Sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.

Information in this blog changes rapidly. Check the state’s COVID-19 website for up-to-date and reliable info at coronavirus.wa.gov.

Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington state may be found at our website. You can also contact our call center at
1–800–525–0127. Hours: 6 am-10 pm, seven days a week.

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Washington State Department of Health

Washington State Department of Health

Protecting and improving the health of people in Washington State.