Orlando psychologist explains how to discuss masks with kids ahead of new school year

Parents share concerns about bullying for children wearing masks at school

ORLANDO, Fla. – With masks currently optional for many school districts, parents say they’re worried about the potential for bullying if their child masks up.

Freddy Santos, the parent of an Orange County student, said he’s already expecting to get questions from his son about why he has to wear a mask when classmates do not.

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“I’m sure those questions will be brought to me as soon as he goes, maybe his first day of school, when maybe he’s the only one of three kids that are wearing masks,” Santos said.

Santos said his son, Raymond, is heading into the 2nd grade and with some kids masking up and others choosing not to, he fears it may create anxiety.

Dr. Mary Wetherby, a neuropsychologist, said parents shouldn’t create a concern that might not be there for their child. She advises parents not to start a conversation about masks by pointing out that their children may be the only ones masked up in the classroom.

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She also advises parents to make sure their child is comfortable in and likes their mask.

Parents can also have a conversation with their students about how to respond to another classmate asking about why they’re wearing a mask. According to Wetherby, the best way to respond is by keeping it short. For example, she said a child can say, “I have to.”

About the Author:

Lauren Cervantes was born and raised in the Midwest but calls Florida her second home. She joined News 6 in August 2019 as a reporter.