Daycare centers are reopening in the U.S. This means that all concerned people, including teachers, caregivers, and two-year-old children, need to wear masks. Since daycare centers are one of the first places for children to learn, play, and communicate, the presence of traditional masks is sure to hinder their abilities. But expressionless faces don’t have to be the norm now. Caregivers have an option to wear transparent masks so the children can see their smiles.
Here are some of the ways how transparent masks might work well in daycare centers:
Children interpret face with eyes
According to research, three to eleven-week-old infants look at the eyes of the person who is talking to them. They also observe synchronization between the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. They develop the image of a face in their minds by building a connection between these three facial organs. That way, they’re able to recognize the faces of familiar people around them such as their father, mother, and caregivers.
Brain responses of infants change when the same people partially hide their faces. Eye-tracking tools also measure a different response in conflicting situations. For instance, infants might react differently if parents or caregivers smile at them but create crying sounds. The same is true when they wear a traditional mask as it hides the mouth. This might hinder their learning ability to recognize and remember faces. Wearing a transparent mask will help parents and caregivers show their full face to the child.
Infants see mouths when learning a language
Children respond to babbling sounds after looking at the mouth of the talker. Based on these sounds, they build connections and learn to recognize the words. Newborns observe the eyeballs when someone holds them in their arms and starts talking to them. But when they’re four to eight months old, they begin to shift their focus to their mouths.
While observing the mouths, they begin to learn familiar words. This behavior helps them learn their first language. It also allows them to enhance their speaking skills. Therefore, it makes sense not to cover the mouth with a traditional mask when caregivers can use transparent masks instead.
Making your lips visible to the child doesn’t just serve the purpose of letting them observe the movement of lips and catch up with the uttered words. Visible mouths are the key to showing the child that you’re smiling at them. Since the smile is a symbol of love and compassion, it builds a stronger bond between the child and the parent/caregiver. It also helps young children feel comfortable and confident in that specific environment.