‘Smile Window’ Face Masks Are Perfect for Heading Back to School — Here’s Why
by Bethany Braun-Silva
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These clear face masks feature a clear panel that makes it easier for kids to communicate.
The novel coronavirus has led to the widespread use of cloth face masks when out in public places. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this is the best way to slow the spread of the virus and that everyone over the age of 2 years old should wear a face mask when outside. We’ve seen recent trends that make wearing a face mask more convenient like the use of clear face shields and face mask lanyards that keep masks conveniently around your neck. While the benefits of wearing a face mask are clear, there is one considerable drawback: You can’t see facial expressions or lipread when wearing one.
This can be challenging for some kids, especially during this scary time. Luckily, clear panels, or “smile windows,” have become increasingly popular as we continue to improve and modify the face mask wearing experience. . Smile windows are popping up on more and more face masks, and we can see how these will be especially useful come back-to-school time. Teachers and students alike will have an easier time in the classroom if they can see each other’s mouths while still safely wearing their masks. Plus, smile window face masks enable kids and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing read lips more easily.
If your child needs extra encouragement to wear their face mask, Reena B. Patel, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board-certified behavior analyst has a few helpful tips. First, tell kids the reason they have to wear their masks. “Do not say you need to wear a mask without the why,” Patel says. “Keep the conversation developmentally appropriate. For example: “here is a virus/bug/germ in the air, and it can go from our body to someone’s body when we cough, spit, talk, or sneeze too close to someone else.” Patel also suggests practicing wearing the mask at home and in short increments and also to let children have a certain amount of autonomy. “Children like to be in control of their decisions,” she says.” Provide a variety of masks to choose from. Be creative and allow them to design their masks. Think of this mask as part of your child’s wardrobe.”
We found the best clear face masks with smile windows for kids (and adults) to make wearing a covering a bit less scary and to show off their smiling faces! Check them out below.