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Back to School, Part 2- Masks, Motivators and More Masks


Let’s talk masks…depending upon your child’s experience thus far with COVID-19, the back to school season may bring up many questions about mask-wearing. While there are many debates to this action, educating children about this behavior in an age-appropriate manner is important especially when thinking about the school setting, face to face instruction, and socializing again with peers. One way to help children, especially younger children, understand what a mask is and why it is important to wear it properly is through reading books or short stories.


Below are a few social stories that anyone can easily access to review and help guide the conversation with your child. 


Autism Little Learners – Wearing a Mask to School

Wearing a Mask Social Story (available in multiple languages including Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, and Burmese) 

Motivators 

When it comes to mask-wearing, washing hands, participating in virtual learning or really any other tasks that kids may not be super interested in, motivation tools can be a helpful tool to access.

Reward Charts can be a great visual for kids to help keep them focused on the task at hand and let them know what’s ahead. 

My Choice Menu is a great reward and motivator chart that can be tailored for the individual child and includes different types of rewards such as Quality Time Rewards (think puzzle time with a parent), Choice (such as picking a favorite item for dinner), and Items (new sticker, coloring book, a snack to try, etc.)  


More… Tips & Tricks for Moms who are living this, too. 


A few other lived experience tidbits a few fellow child life specialist moms have shared… 

  • Mute! For classes held in Google Meets the spacebar mutes the microphone. In some programs, Ctrl D does the same thing. 

  • Fidget items are another item that can be useful for helping both little ones, as well as older kids, focus during virtual learning. Fidget spinners, play-doh, silly putty, or really a manipulative that’s safe can do the trick. 

  • One mom also suggested changing up the seat and location for different sessions. Some are held in the kitchen while others times they participate in a different location or room or while sitting on the floor. 

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