Kids will need to wear masks when they return to class next month.
Dr. Terry Ho, a pediatrician with OSF HealthCare, recommends parents start talking with their children now.
"This can be a difficult decision to have with them. Masks may be scary. They may be uncomfortable. But we as parents can help them. We can relate wearing masks to something they already know," he said.
He said it can help to explain it to kids the same way parents tell kids to cough into their elbows, or cover their mouths when they sneeze. He also recommends practicing wearing masks at home, and letting kids choose their own mask.
"We can lead by example. As parents, our children look to us for reassurance. If we wear a mask, they will, too," said Ho.
Medical experts say wearing a mask remains one of the most effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued a statement calling for schools to set the goal of in-person learning for the healthy development and well-being of children. Dr. Ho said he backs working to safely achieve that goal.
"I know that school reopening is a very stressful and scary topic. We don't want to get this wrong, because if we do, it has to do with our kids," he said. "I want you all to know that you can do this, though."
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