A Mayo Clinic Health System coloring activity, Mask Made by Me

Browse through the creative pictures from our community

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Children are faced with daily challenges when wearing masks to help protect against COVID-19. Whether it’s always having a mask with them, making sure they are cleaned daily, or wearing them correctly – adjusting to this new normal can feel overwhelming for both children and adults.

Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Dr. Joseph Poterucha, says a lot of this anxiety for children comes with the fact that everyone’s face is covered.

“Kids rely on faces to recognize emotions and feel safe. So, if you don’t have your face there it’s really difficult for them to gauge a social situation,” he says.

Even though getting kids to wear a mask comes with challenges, science shows kids play an integral part in preventing COVID-19 spread, and they can help do so by wearing a mask. Some kids don’t have a choice with several schools in the La Crosse area requiring kids to wear one.

“Less than 6 feet apart, is really high risk,” says Dr. Poterucha. “Just because a kid’s out on the playground playing with their friends doesn’t make it any different than when they’re in the classroom. Even the younger kids, if they can be educated properly, and we can make it fun.”

Mayo Clinic Health System, in partnership with News 8 Now, will be doing just that by launching a new hands on project.

Mask Made by Me is a contest and coloring activity to help parents start a conversation about mask requirements with your children. Kids, ages 4-12, can design their own mask on a downloadable coloring sheet and make the person wearing it look just like them. Check out some of the submissions below.

Dr. Poterucha says Mask Made by Me can help ease some of the anxiety that comes with something strange and new.

“Kids love games, right? You need to make it fun,” he says. “There’s a lot of good online instructions. Make a mask together. That kind of intervention is what will get kids to wear it. You make it fun, you make them a part of it, you make it a game, and they’re going to do it. ”

For some extra fun, 10 designs will win a family fun pack based on creativity, originality and adherence to the topic. We’ll also show off submissions on News 8 Now This Morning, or like Mayo Clinic Health System’s Facebook page to watch for submitted work.

Click here to participate in Mask Made by Me and design a unique mask with your children. Paper submissions will not be accepted. Entries will be accepted through Oct. 16.