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How Can I Get my Child to Wear a Mask?


Last week Los Angeles County announced an order that all individuals over the age of two must wear protective face coverings in public. Already stressed by the ongoing stay-at-home order, parents have been reaching out to me asking, “How in the world am I going to get my child with autism to wear a face mask when we go out?” Fortunately, there are a few measures we can take to increase the likelihood that your kid won’t put up a fight when you ask them to put on a face mask.


Buy a fabric with one of their favorite characters on it, and use that to make a face mask

  • When you provide your child the power of choice by allowing them to select their own face mask fabric, they will be more inclined to wear it

Spend some arts and crafts time together creating a face mask in just a few easy steps

  • Lay a large, square piece of cloth on a flat surface

  • (Optional) Place a coffee filter in the middle of the cloth for added protection

  • Fold the top of the fabric down to the middle

  • Fold the bottom of the fabric up to meet where the top is folded down

  • Fold the top and bottom once more to meet in the middle

  • Use ribbons, shoelaces, hair ties, or rubber bands to create fasteners for around the ears - If using ribbon, string, or shoelaces, tie into a circle (about the size of a hair band)

  • Secure the band around one side of the mask, about three inches in from the edge

  • Fold fabric over the band

  • Secure the other side with a band and fold fabric over

  • Bring the mask close to your or your child’s face and loop one band around an ear

  • Repeat with the other side

  • Voila- tell your child how cool they look in their new mask!

If your child gives you push back- take it easy on them. The harder you push, the harder they are going to resist. Work on gradually building them up to the point of wearing a mask by taking smaller, incremental steps that are closer to actually wearing the mask.

  1. First, have your child touch the mask with no pressure to put it on - If this is even difficult, hide a favorite treat or small toy under it, so they associate the mask with things they like

  2. Have your child pick up the mask and set it back down

  3. Have your child bring the mask close to their face and set it down immediately (don’t put the ear pieces on yet)

  4. Have your child bring the mask to their face and put one of the ear bands on, then put it down

  5. Have your child bring the mask to their face and put both ear bands on, they can take it off immediately if they want

  6. Gradually build up how long your child wears the mask - You may need to increase by just a few seconds at a time, or you may be able to have them wear it for minutes at a time

  7. Reward each of these steps when your child completes them without becoming upset

You will want to see your child succeed with each step several times (without crying or becoming upset) prior to moving on to the next step. Moving on too quickly can cause stress and will make them want to avoid the mask even more


I hope the tips in this blog help make your life a little easier! Please share this with anybody you know whose child is having a difficult time with face masks


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