Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics earned itself a massive ratio when it tweeted that there are no studies to prove that teachers and caregivers wearing masks around babies and toddlers impede children’s language development. “There are no studies to support this concern. Young children will use other clues like gestures and tone of voice,” the AAP said. The question is, are there any studies to allay this concern?

Now an opinion piece in the New York Times is going even further, suggesting several ways in which children wearing masks actually presents opportunities for children to learn.

That’s quite a claim:

Wearing a mask can also help teach children to pay more attention to their own bodies and physical behaviors. Keeping a mask on over the course of a school day involves the kind of self-control and self-regulation that many children find challenging. Younger children must inhibit the urge to pull off their mask, and older children must be mindful of when their mask is slipping down or when it’s OK to take it off.

Needless to say, children will not always be perfect at keeping their masks on. But the research on self-control and self-regulation suggests that children who master the skills needed to keep their masks on will grow up to be better at achieving their long-term goals, solving problems and handling stressful situations. (For children who habitually bite their nails or pick their nose, a mask could also be precisely what they need to kick the habit.)

When was the study done connecting mask-wearing to better achievement of long-term goals?

Preferably children wouldn’t need masks, but since they do, let’s try to find out ways they present opportunities to learn.

“For older children, mask wearing is a way to teach more sophisticated ethical concepts like duty and sacrifice,” the piece argues.

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