First of all, I fully support the wearing of masks by anyone who can do so safely as a pandemic prevention method, and also as a way to stop the spread of regular viruses such as cold or flu, if you are ill.
My daughter was about 8 months old when Taiwan had it’s first big COVID outbreak in May 2021. We thought it was important not to lock her up, and to take her out regularly despite the rising cases. What we found though was a lot of fuss about her not wearing a mask. The rule was, and I believe still is that under 2 year olds do not need to wear a mask. People would come up to us and tell us she would be wearing a mask, and we were even stopped going into some shops until I pulled up the actual rules on my phone. Anyway, since cases were going up, and we were getting annoyed with people hassling us, we decided to try and put a mask on her to see how she how she would react when she was about 1 years old. We were very careful making sure she could breath and wasn’t uncomfortable, and also that if she wanted to she was able to take it off herself. We found she didn’t have any issues wearing a mask, and even got excited when we put one on her since she knew it meant she was going out.
Fast forward 6 months and she still wears a mask when she goes out, but its got to the point where she must. She does not like being outside without a mask on, and often refuses to take it off even at home. Occasionally she will try to put one on when visitors come round so I think is probably related to anxiety and wearing a mask gives her comfort.
It’s funny because if we were in the UK we’d probably get shouted at for letting such a young child wear a mask, but its totally the opposite here. I totally think that letting her wear a mask from such a young age has affected her social development, at least a little bit.
Mixed. If it’s a temporary measure to prevent an outbreak, I can understand it especially for indoor environments (though that seemed more effective with previous variants; I’m not sure surgical masks do anything to prevent Omicron). But I hate this fetishizing of masks here. They want to turn it into a fashion statement, which means they want it to be a permanent clothing staple even years in the future when the rest of the world has ditched their face wear. I agree that masks hinder social development between kids too. That, and they’re bloody hot and uncomfortable in a tropical environment like Taiwan. So I think they’re at best a necessary evil, but as this pandemic drags on and the strains become more contagious there’s diminishing returns on how effective it is and at some point we need to move past them. Hopefully when we get Omicron-targeted vaccines.
I’m not sure about her social development from wearing a mask, but I think it’s not good for her to constantly see so many people wearing masks. Understanding faces, emotions and expressions are a fundamental part of an infant child’s social development. Have a look at some facial recognition studies in children (Morton and Johnson did extensive work in that field) to see how infants process faces. All these masks can’t be good. But that’s homo sapiens for you.
Once I organised a food activity at my junior high school. Kids were supposed to eat food that they prepared. There were a few students who refused to take down their masks and eat. I asked them why and they answered that their classmates would laugh at their appearance. It was really sad to hear.
I found the same with my 2yo son.
He’s very excited to put a mask on, as it means he’s going out. And if he sees someone leaving but no one offered him a mask he knows he is staying and starts complaining
However, contrary to your daughter, he has no problem taking the mask off, either to eat, play or just because he felt uncomfortable.
As @superking pointed out, seeing and recognizing faces is an important step in child development. Do you have relatives living with you, or close friends that she sees frequently without a mask?
I think the only way she will get used to not wearing masks is by seeing maskless people around, too.
Yes, but children need exposure to more people than their parents to develop their social skills.
I think she needs more than that. Take her to parks during the week, arrange a picnic on weekends, and meet other friends with kids.
Different people have different behaviors, expressions, emotions, and reactions. I think it’s important for her to experience a wide range of social contact, especially during her first years.
Not really actually. Part of the reason the “terrible twos” are a thing is because it’s the first time a child realizes they aren’t an extension of their caregivers. Before that time, they didn’t really know they had any actual autonomy. It’s why their favorite word is “no” — they say it because they can and it’s exhilarating to them to have such “authority” to do so. Children in the 0-5 year range are mostly being socialized by their family. That’s not to say they aren’t picking up on social cues in the wider community, but they’re not focused on it until ~kindergarten (in the American K5 sense of the word) / first grade.
I don’t have kids so I can’t comment much here but what I can add was something that kind of spooked me yesterday:
One of my students, around 6 years old, asked why none of the children in the book I was teaching were wearing masks?
I was kind of dumbfounded thinking of a proper response that was truthful but not too heavy. I told her that the characters are made up, to which she replied “I know they’re imaginary but why aren’t they wearing masks” (she’s half so her English is really good).
I could only say that right now the president is asking us to wear masks so we don’t get sick, but it won’t last forever.
It’s fine. We treat it like anything else the child has to wear / put on - they don’t get to tell us they don’t have to wear a jacket when it’s cold out, or they don’t have to wear sunblock when the sun is blasting down, and we don’t make a huge fuss about it like it’s the end of the world, but as parents, we have expectations- and they manage it without thinking they always have to wear a jacket or sunblock and without get stressed out when they’re not, right? If the child is anxious about it, it’s probably because parents are passing it on to them.
Really? My daughter is only 4, and fully aware of what COVID is, and how it just started recently. Then again, she’s pretty smart for her age (not that your 6 year old isn’t in her own way… maybe “aware” would be a better word).
Masks should only be enforced when covid is spreading to levels, where hospitals can’t take in more patients
I stop wearing it, cause people should take responsibility and get vaccinated. I had few comments in Taiwan but told people their masks are weak and offer them n95 for full protection.
Is just sad they force kids having mask. And all that distance learning. Interesting how governments around the world hardly give up on grip of autocratic rule. Taiwanese are so brainwashed, government is afraid to make rules loose cause of losing popularity with it.