By Rachel Buchholz, KIDS AND FAMILY Editor in Chief
Last weekend my family was hanging out at another family’s house, and we got to talking about their three-year-old’s first full week of school. We reflected on the fact that—since the boy was just beginning to walk and talk when the pandemic first started—wearing a mask around other people seemed about as normal to him as wearing pants.
Another thing that doesn’t come naturally to older mask-wearing children: communicating. Experts acknowledge that wearing masks can hinder those skills, especially in those kids who are still developing socially. (Meaning, pretty much all of them.)
A colleague of mine has two children who play a game in which one makes a face under the mask while the other guesses the expression. They’re often going for “smizing,” or smiling with their eyes. That’s something we can all be doing a little bit more of—whether we’re wearing a mask or not.
If you want to get this newsletter every week, sign up here. If you want your children to get Nat Geo Kids or Nat Geo Little Kids magazines, subscribe here. The Walt Disney Company is majority owner of National Geographic Partners.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
PHOTOGRAPH BY VURAL ELIBOL / ANADOLU AGENCY VIA GETTY IMAGES
Canyonlands National Park. You might have seen Mesa Arch (above), located in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, pop up on your Instagram feed. It’s one of those iconic natural wonders that put national parks on many families’ travel bucket lists. The trail to Mesa Arch is a manageable half-mile, although the path can be rough and uneven. The award at the end: the spectacular view of canyons and rock spires that’s sure to make a fan out of even the most reluctant of hikers.
Family discussion. Is your young back-to-schooler having trouble recognizing classmates because they often change styles of masks? The kindergartner son of journalist Emily Dreyfuss suggests kids get several of the same masks, so they could wear the same type every day. In an insightful Twitter thread, Dreyfuss writes her son is trying to figure out “if the kid who is named Ashton and sometimes wears a green mask is the same kid who he was on the monkey bars with on the first day, even though that kid had a purple mask.” Does your family have any solutions?