PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor Larisa Ovcharenko told Moscow 24 how to teach children to use personal protective equipment without harming their mental health. According to the psychologist, each age has its own psychological techniques.
Ovcharenko believes that for a preschool child, everything happens through a play form. She advises explaining to the children that this is just a game in which we defend ourselves against bacteria.
"We are playing a new game. We have such a virus in it, let's defend ourselves against it. To do this, we must have clean, closed hands, closed mouth and nose," says the psychologist.
Also, according to the expert, together with the children, you can decorate the mask with different colors, draw on it your favorite hero of fairy tales or cartoons.
The psychologist noted that if a child is afraid of a mask, then it is worth preparing him first. She advises, together with the children, to draw some story on paper with their favorite characters who will perform some manipulations with the means of protection. She considers it necessary to let the child get to know the mask so that he can play with it at home, put it on his favorite toys.
“It is important that the child sees that the parents are doing this too. Otherwise, he has a dissonance, and he will think that he is being deceived,” the expert emphasized.
Children of elementary school - from 6.5 to 10 years old - are able to talk on such topics, a persuasion system works with them, the expert believes.
"Without tension, without coercion, with the help of conversation, carefully. Explain how the mask protects and why. That this is not something forced, supernatural, but an ordinary story, ordinary life, and there is no need to be afraid of this mask," explains the psychologist.
If, nevertheless, a child of primary school age develops fear or discomfort, it is imperative to find out what exactly worries him. And come up with a way to get rid of the discomfort.
Ovcharenko believes that famous people, idols of children, for example, bloggers or artists, can serve as an example. She advises to find their photos on the Internet, where they are in masks, and show the child.
“Through authority, it will work great with a child of primary school age,” the specialist notes.
Teenagers, according to the psychologist, will definitely try to resist wearing masks and gloves in order to "probe the boundaries of what is permitted." Here you can offer your child an alternative: bandana, scarf, balaclava, mask with a pattern. Just like with younger children, a teenager can be influenced through the authority of his idol.
“The teenager should like it, it should be in the structure of his hobby, which he adheres to,” the expert summed up.
Earlier, the World Health Organization recommended during the coronavirus pandemic to control the time that children and adolescents spend on computer games. This was announced by the WHO specialist in the field of psychoactive substance use and addictive behavior Vladimir Poznyak.