DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Delray Beach mom Shannon Q. McDonald wanted to find a way to explain the issue of masks with her 2-year-old and 6-year-old children, without making it scary. She wrote “Remember to Smile,” to help youngsters see it as an opportunity for fun.
While we all rely on body language and facial expression to make a healthy connection with the world, the masks have offered a different challenge.
“Maybe they’re not necessarily seeing someone smile but they are and I think sometimes they do more now with maybe their hands or maybe a little bit more exaggerated smiles or laughs. I know now sometimes when we take pictures, I’m like ‘smile really big’ so we can see the creases in your eyes,” she said.
The book focuses on how masks can be an opportunity for self-expression, with each mask being unique.
“It doesn’t have to be something annoying or something that is put on us, we can actually make this fun and unique and you can even do your own mask and things like that, so I think it comes back to trying to motivate kids and how parents are having to get a little more creative in having to do that,” she said.
In addition to her book, McDonald suggests doing crafts to decorate masks for seasons, holidays and general creativity. She held up a masks with a long, cottony beard and moustache that resembled Santa Claus.
“Here’s one of my son’s Santa masks. And I can tell you my son who turned 3 in august does not like masks. So I understand a lot of parents having a tough time convincing them to wear it and he wore this, since he thought it was so cute,” she said.