Tips for Getting Kids to Wear Face Masks (Toddler and Elementary School Age)

As daycares and schools are reopening, one of the most hotly debated topics is kids wearing face masks.  I’ve seen so many parents saying that their young kids simply won’t wear face masks. Now, I know every kid is different (and some kids have issues that prevent mask wearing), but both Kane and Karoline have taken right to it. Seriously–my kids wear face masks better than most adults, and without complaint. Kane is awesome about remembering to grab them before we leave the house, and Karoline even asks for her mask.


I thought it might be helpful to share tips for getting kids to wear face masks to school and daycare. These are tips based on my kids’ experience with wearing face masks. Kane is 7 and Karoline is 2. Yes, even my two-year-old wears a mask.

TIP #1 FOR GETTING KIDS TO WEAR FACE MASKS: Get fun character masks.

Remember, kids love to wear their favorite characters! Look for masks that have Frozen, Minecraft, Pokemon, unicorns, mermaids, dinosaurs. . . whatever it is your kid is obsessed with. Your kids will find the masks cool and want to wear them. I had custom Frozen masks made for Karoline in 4 different patterns, and Minecraft and Pokemon masks made for Kane. This is the lady who made our masks.

TIP #2 FOR GETTING KIDS TO WEAR FACE MASKS: Make sure the masks fit well.

If a mask doesn’t fit your kid well, then it’s a recipe for disaster. This is when kids really start pulling and tugging at the mask. Look for masks that are age-specific. The masks that fit Kane are too big for Karoline. We had ours custom made, and the lady who made them put in pleats on the side for a more snug fit.

TIP #3 FOR GETTING KIDS TO WEAR FACE MASKS: Look for masks in comfortable fabrics.

You want to get a fabric that’s soft and breathable. If it’s scratchy, you’re going to get a lot of whining from your child, and rightfully so. It may take trying out a few different masks to find one that your child deems comfortable (think Princess and the Pea), but don’t give up. And pay attention to the type of elastic used for the ears.

TIP #4 FOR GETTING KIDS TO WEAR FACE MASKS: Use a reward system/positive reinforcements.

Y’all, I’m all for bribing my children to get them to do what I want.haha If you’re still having a hard time getting your child to wear a mask, set up a rewards system or other positive reinforcement. It can be an ice cream at the end of the week or a sticker every day.

TIP #5 FOR GETTING KIDS TO WEAR FACE MASKS: Make sure your child sees YOU wearing a mask.

My kids both saw me wearing a mask for a couple of months before we started having the kids wear them (simply because they were staying at home). Karoline, who is two, definitely noticed me wearing my mask, and she just thinks that it’s another accessory. I even let her try mine on a time or two because she was interested. She was so excited when she got her own! This helps normalize masking for kids.

TIP #6 FOR GETTING KIDS TO WEAR FACE MASKS: Practice at home before expecting them to wear a mask to school.

I can’t stress this enough. Several weeks before your child starts back to school, start practicing wearing a mask at home. Make sure they can put it on and take it off correctly if they’re older. Make sure they are wearing it correctly, covering both their nose and their mouth. If they’re not, work with them on getting it right. Don’t wait until the first day of school to try to get them to wear a mask.

TIP #7 FOR GETTING KIDS TO WEAR FACE MASKS: Don’t speak negatively about wearing a face mask in front of your child.

Kids are like parrots. They will repeat whatever their parents say. If you speak negatively about masking in front of your child, then they are going to pick up on that and repeat it. If they’re hearing you say bad things about masking, then they’ll also frame it in a negative light.

TIP #8 FOR GETTING KIDS TO WEAR FACE MASKS: Talk with your children about the importance of masking.

As an incoming second grader, Kane knows so much about the virus, and why it’s important that we wear face masks and social distance. Why? Because I talk to him about it.  Even Karoline knows it’s important to wear face masks out in public–she wants one as soon as we head toward the car. You don’t have to go overkill on the scientific aspects of what’s going on, but you chat about it in general terms that they understand. You don’t have to frighten them, either. Keep it positive.


As with ANYTHING you do with kids, consistency is key. Be consistent with the practice of face masking in public. Once kids get into a routine, it becomes second nature to them.

If you’re worried about getting your kid to wear a face mask to school, I hope these tips help!

Nice to meet you!

Hi there! I’m Tif Fannin, the blogger behind Bright on a Budget, based in Lexington, Kentucky. Bright on a Budget is a Southern fashion and lifestyle blog where I share everyday looks, beauty, and travel, along with a behind-the-scenes look at my life as a working mom of two. I have a penchant for bright colors + good deals. Follow along for posts that are relatable to the everyday woman.

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