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FAMILY: How to get your kid to wear a mask

Email sent: Aug 30, 2020 2:57pm
Plus, the benefits of walking, the new parent-teacher conference, and pandamania  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌    ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  
National Geographic
Sunday, August 30, 2020
By Rachel Buchholz, KIDS AND FAMILY Editor in Chief

I’ve learned a lot of things about wearing a face mask over the past five months:

—That the little metal thing at the top prevents your glasses from fogging up
—That it takes a long time to pull it up over my mouth and nose if someone’s getting too close, so it’s best if I just keep it on outside all the time
—That I look better in patterns than solids

Another thing: Getting kids to wear a mask is hard.

We’ve been extremely lucky that COVID-19 doesn’t seem to affect children as severely as adults. It’s unclear, the CDC reports, “whether children are as susceptible to infection compared with adults, and whether they can transmit the virus as effectively.” But they can become infected and transmit it, especially in settings where it’s difficult to maintain social distance (like camp and school)—and one of the best ways to prevent that is by wearing masks.

It’s a dilemma many parents face as some children go back to physical school or daycare. Getting kids to keep their shirts and shoes on is hard enough—how do you convince them to wear a restrictive covering for hours, especially when you’re not there to enforce the rules?

One idea is to appeal to a child’s natural sense of kindness and fairness, says psychotherapist and parenting coach Alyson Schafer in a Nat Geo article about keeping kids safe as they go back to school. “Say things like, ‘We wear masks and stay six feet apart because we don’t want to spread our germs to others who may not be as healthy. We wear our masks because we want to help everyone, not just ourselves.’” (Superhero-style masks help reinforce that thinking.)

Other ideas: outings for treats like ice cream where they have to follow the safety rules in order to get their frozen reward, and rehearsed retorts when confronted with non-mask-wearing peers. (“Sorry, I had too much garlic for lunch.”)

And of course, figuring out which mask looks best on them. After all, you might as well look cool while you’re saving the world.

If you want to get this newsletter every week, sign up here. If you want your kids to get Nat Geo Kids magazine, subscribe here. For Nat Geo Little Kids, subscribe here.
The new parent-teacher conference. Those drive-by chats you might have had with your child’s teacher at a PTA meeting or field trip are likely gone for a while. But establishing communication with the educators in your kid’s life is more crucial than ever. Regular check-ins can help parents stay on top of gaps and clarify assignments, but they also give them the chance to let teachers know what might be going on at home. After all, your child’s teacher is probably his or her biggest advocate besides you. “I just want parents to know that we're out here working hard to do the best that we can for your children,” says third-grade teacher Mark Sandy in this Nat Geo article about keeping in contact with teachers. (Just be respectful of people’s time: No one wants to get a text from you at 11:32 p.m.)

At least we can skip the crazy-expensive sneakers. Multi-colored notebooks, check. Glittery pencils, check. Hand sanitizer? According to a FinanceBuzz survey of 1,000 parents, 74% have put hand sanitizer on the back-to-school shopping list, and 73% will be buying face masks. One surprising uptick: lunch boxes, perhaps because many school cafeterias won’t be serving. And though 30% of parents will likely spend less on shoes and clothes than 2019, 70% said they’ll spend the same or more. (If you are planning on decking out your kid in the latest dinosaur, space, or volcano fashion, might we suggest this Nat Geo collection from Gap Kids?)

Simple routines: Forget the lengthy to-do lists. How about eating a peach once a day? Taking a shower after a midday workout? Waving to the neighbor on the porch when you head out? “In the absence of a lot of outside stimulus, the tiniest things take on meaning,” writes the NYT’s Melissa Kirsch.

Pandemic panacea: Need to get out of the house? Lose weight? Maybe even protest? There’s one thing you can do, writes Eric Weiner for Nat Geo. Stretch those legs. “The pandemic has robbed us of much,” he writes. “Not only lives and livelihoods, but agency, too. We feel trapped, powerless. There is much we can’t do. We can walk, though.”

Happy birthday, baby panda!
The world got some much-needed extra cuteness Aug. 21, when Mei Xiang, the female giant panda at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, gave birth to her fourth surviving cub. Since newborns kind of look like, well, hairless rats, we thought kids would like to check out this photo gallery starring the newborn’s older brother Bei-Bei. They can then learn cool facts about this vulnerable animal, plus get tips on how to protect them. Your true panda nerds might like the Nat Geo Kids book Absolute Expert: Pandas.

Happy birthday, Dr. Sylvia Earle! She's a trailblazing oceanographer and a role model for generations of science-minded girls. Earle's message to fans on her 85th birthday today? "We can, through our individual and collective actions, turn to a new era of respect for the natural systems that keep us alive, and for one another," Earle tells Nat Geo. "It's the old ’do unto others as you have them do unto you.’ We need to do it across the board."

Keeping engaged behind their screens: From creating monthly content themes to generating ideas for cool careers, educator Emily Vizzo shares 15+ Nat Geo Education resources to engage with your learners in this blog piece. Which activities will you try? Tag us @NatGeoEducation and let us know!

Our future: What will nature be like for our children and grandchildren? That’s the topic of the just-published The Nature of Nature: Why We Need the Wild by Nat Geo Explorer in Residence Enric Sala. Join Sala, Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin, and special guests including chef José Andrés in a virtual chat about the book at 5:30 p.m. ET today. RSVP here.
This newsletter was edited and curated by David Beard and Rachel Buchholz. Have a healthy and a sane (as possible) week ahead!
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