Back To School Time!

Usually back to school is a time of excitement, a few nerves and reestablishing a new family routine after the long and free days of summer.  This year however, we have a bit more on our plates as we (nervously?) (eagerly?) anticipate heading back to school safely during this pandemic.  Our new climate brings with it a slew of new changes at school, ones we as parents never anticipated we’d ever see for our children.  The new normals of physical distancing, remaining with one class-cohort for a full day, staggered recesses, increased outdoor learning, eating lunch and snacks in the classroom and of course, the biggest new change, wearing masks while indoors.  

Getting Kids Mask Ready

One way we’re getting ready for this newest challenge is by normalizing wearing masks for extended periods of time — by practicing at home. And it seems to be working for us!  Any screen time (yes, even Minecraft time) the girls pop on their masks.  I’m spending a bit of extra time helping get my youngest mentally ready and practiced-up for how the school year may roll out. She’s a quick study and the extra chats and steps are helping.  We’re also trying a few different models of masks out just to have some options (and fun prints) ready!

 “What do I do when I have to take my mask off?” 

My 6 yo asked me this recently, so here’s what we’re practicing at home when it comes to safe mask wearing and removal for kids (check out the pic → )

Safe Masks - Report Card

Safe Mask Wearing and Removal

💦 Start by cleaning our hands (wash or sanitizer)

👐🏽 Using both hands to take off their mask by the strings.

🎈Holding the mask by the strings, like a “hammock or a basket”.

🍏 During snack / lunch time:  Pack a clean cloth (can be a reusable 🌎) in their lunch bag and place the mask, “design down” on the clean cloth on the desk (or in a clean bag, container or fanny pack).

💦 Wash hands again!

Another option is getting a FANNY PACK (or BUM-BAG, HIP BAG…whatever you want to call it (still a fanny-pack to me 😉 to store the used mask inside (put a reusable bag inside to put the dirty mask inside if you like).

“Mama!  My mask feels icky! (or sweaty or gross or itchy…)” 

Here are some tips we’re hoping can help navigate this complaint that will most likely be coming your way!

  1. Pack some backups:  Masks WILL get sweaty.  Pack a few extra masks and have the kids change them up when they feel icky (or sweaty or gross or itchy…)/
  2. Stash the old one:  For the little ones, decorate a bag with X’s (or sad emoji’s) to show which bag to put the icky one into.  For the Biggies, pack an extra bag to help separate the clean from the sweaty masks.
  3. Hypoallergenic detergent:  Masks will be on your child’s face ALL day.  Possible skin issues may be minimized with fragrance and dye free hypoallergenic detergent (think Baby Detergent).
  4. Hand or machine wash masks after school:  Using hypoallergenic detergent and hot water.  Rinse really well and air dry or tumble.  Do not use dryer sheets or fabric softener.  Opt for a drier ball instead.
  5. Some detergent brands to consider:
    • Seventh Generation Free + Clear
    • Ecover 
    • The Unscented Company
    • Molly’s Suds
    • TruEarth Hypoallergenic Detergent
    • Tide Free and Gentle
    • Purex Natural Elements

Practicing at home and talking about the new routines at school can help settle some anxiety (for both us and them 😉  All the best to you and your families as we get back to it safely this fall!

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