Sleep apnea can affect people of all ages, even children. However, when children are very young, they might find wearing a CPAP mask annoying or uncomfortable, particularly if this is something that’s new to them. Eventually, your child will get used to the mask, but in the meantime, here are some ways you can help them:
Routine is important
Have a set bedtime routine you stick to every night, as this will help your child get used to putting the mask on at the same time in the same way. If it’s integrated into their evening the same way that brushing their teeth is, soon enough they won’t even notice it. It’s important to make bedtime routines as simple as possible without too many steps. Unessential elements like preparing clothes and packed lunches should be done in the morning.
Check on the CPAP mask at night
When still getting used to the mask, children are in the habit of pulling their mask off while asleep. While the mask is still new, it’s a good idea to reposition the mask at night if it has slipped out of place. This won’t be something you have to do in the long term, so losing a bit of sleep for a few weeks will be worth the change in your child’s life.
Involve them in the decisions
Although some children will prefer you to handle putting on the CPAP mask, asking them whether they want to be a part of the process could help them feel more in control. You could ask them if they want to try fitting the mask one night or whether they want to be the one to press the button and switch on the machine. However, it’s important that wearing the mask itself isn’t a choice, as this is essential.
Answer their questions
Your child will probably be confused about their CPAP mask. Make sure you explain everything to them so that they understand why they need to wear it and the benefits it offers. Doing this in a simple way can help children be more receptive to this new part of their life.