When we leave our home or work site, we find that many people are wearing face mask in public places. This may be a little scary for your children to see these working people and others wearing face mask, when they are not use to this environment. Perhaps in your home if you have younger children, it may be a good idea for you to start letting your children wear a face mask several minutes a day. At first you may need to make a game out of it, if your child is very hesitant in wearing one.

This can be a difficult adjustment for kids to wear a face mask. You know what an adjustment it is for you, but you know you need to protect yourself and protect others by wearing a face mask in public. With your children staying at home most of the time, many kids may not be used to seeing others wearing a mask in public, let alone having to wear one themselves. Here are some tips for kids over the age of 2 that may help:

Kids will react differently to wearing a mask depending on their age. Start by explaining what a face mask is, why we need it and when we need to wear it. Use developmentally appropriate language, be honest, and use simple words. You can say "a face mask helps to keep us safe and healthy by stopping germs from getting into our body when you cough, sneeze, talk, or breathe that can make you or someone else sick."

Allow your child to ask questions about wearing a face mask. Ask your child what they know about the coronavirus and wearing a mask to assess their understanding and what they might be fearful of. Talk about other things we already do that also help stop germs and keep us healthy such as washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough and social distancing.

Model wearing a face mask. This will help to normalize the mask and familiarize the child with what a mask looks like when put on the face. Remind your child you can still see people's eyes and they are smiling underneath the mask. Talk about how they can still talk, play and have fun while wearing a mask.

Teach your child how to put on and take off the mask. Allow your child to look at itself in the mirror when wearing a mask. Practice wearing the mask at home around the house first before going out in public.

Explain that wearing a face mask is a rule right now and make it apart of your child's routine. Talk about how other people will also be wearing face masks. Show your child pictures of other kids, friends, or family members wearing a mask.

Kids love to play and learn best through play. Put a mask on your child's stuffed animal, action figure, or doll. Pretend to be a mask wearing doctor, animal, or superhero. Draw, color, or write a story about people wearing face masks.

Kids do well with choices and feeling as if they are in control. Let your child help pick out their favorite color, pattern, or character that will be on their face mask. You can also use fabric markers, fabric paint, or stickers to allow your child to decorate and personalize their mask.

It may take time, patience, and practice as your child adjusts to the changes of wearing a mask. Accept and comfort the reactions your child may have to wearing a mask. Provide positive encouragement, emotional support, and lots of praise when your child successfully wears their mask.

Ask your child what the hardest thing about wearing a mask is. Validate their feelings, provide active listening, and allow them to ask questions. Share your own feelings about also needing to wear a mask

The face mask may bother the back of your child's ears. An easy solution for this is attaching 2 buttons to a hat, head band, or ribbon. Put the mask straps over the buttons rather than over the ears. A pipe cleaner also works well to hold the mask on the back of the head.

Invite your child to engage in fun and normal play activities. This will help your child express their feelings, reduce stress, learn, support developmental growth, and better cope with change.

As adults we have adjusted to wearing the face mask when going out. Remember your child needs the same protection for himself and others when he goes out in the public. Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Remember to visit our local Farmers Markets where you can find a variety of items. The Somerset Market, located on South Highway 27 near the Mall, is opened each Wednesdays and Saturdays. They are opened from 8:00 until 2:00.

The Lake Cumberland Farmers Market, located uptown in their new building, is opened on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8:00 to 1:00 and on Thursday afternoon from 1:00 to 6:00. While shopping at the Farmers' Market, take the time to pick up a free Farmers' Market Shopper's Guide that is filled with delicious recipes.

This is a delicious recipe that your family will love, if they like salads and greens

Super Crunchy Salad

¾ cup sunflower seed kernels

Cooking Spray

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

1-pound Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

½ pound curly kale, stems removed and thinly sliced

½ pound cabbage, thinly sliced

1 ½ cups dried cranberries

1-15 ounce can Mandarin Oranges, drained

4 green onions, thinly sliced

8 fresh strawberries, trimmed and thinly sliced

1-16-ounce bottle creamy poppy seed dressing

1 tablespoon orange zest'

Juice from 1 orange

Place pumpkin seed in a bowl and coat lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. In a medium size skillet over medium high heat, fry sunflower seed stirring often until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Combine Brussels Sprouts, kale, cabbage, dried cranberries, Mandarin oranges, green onions, strawberries, and toasted sunflower seed in a large bowl.

Mix together the poppy seed dressing with orange zest, and the juice from the 1 orange. Pour over the salad, about ½ cup at a time, and toss until salad and dressing are combined. This will yield 10- 1 ½ cups.

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