How to incentivize wearing a mask for your child

How to incentivize wearing a mask for your child
Posted at 12:41 PM, Aug 07, 2020

It's tough enough to get a student to sit still, let alone keep a mask on all day.

For schools planning to return to full or partial in-person education, all students are required to wear masks. The order from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine came based on recommendations from The Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Carol Gebhardt, a fourth-grade teacher at Mason Elementary School, said she wants to make sure her students are being safe.

“I think that if we show them, we show our students that, you know, we can make the best of this situation, that it will hopefully roll over onto them,” she said. “I've seen a lot of funny memes about what's going to happen. But I think also if you are modeling that, wearing it at the beginning of the year and setting up that 'this is good for us. This is good for our safety. We want to wear these.’ These are a positive thing.”

Dr. Josh Schazzfin, Cincinnati Children's leading expert on infection prevention and control and associate professor of infectious disease, said wearing a mask is like other learned behaviors for kids.

“We're not born knowing to brush our teeth or to put on clothes or to wear shoes, how to behave,” he said. “A child will respond to incentives -- a star on a chart that leads to a reward. The child gets to choose what kind of mask or the logo on a mask. The child's obsessed with Marvel Comics, the child's obsessed with dinosaurs, put those on the mask.”

Schazzfin agreed with Gebhardt, that parents and teachers should lead by example on this issue.

“Number one, we lead by example, and number two, we set expectations. This is acceptable, this is not acceptable,” Schazzfin said.

Schazzfin said it's not about forcing the issue but finding the best way to acclimate your child to wear a mask.

Hamilton County officials are working to make sure schools have a stockpile of masks and other PPE for students and teachers.

Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency partnered with the county Educational Service Center to provide masks, 350 no-touch thermometers, and 50,000 face shields to schools in the county.

This story was originally reported by Pat LaFleur at WCPO.