As the weather is getting warmer, I have been needing to wear my oxygen more. I work as a nanny and the children who I work with are 9 and 7. They are both really good about my oxygen usage and know I just have “bad lungs” (as they put it) and I need help breathing. For them, seeing me with oxygen on isn’t shocking , but for other children at the playground or out in public it can be a shock to see someone who looks young on oxygen. For many, this may be the first time they have seen anyone with oxygen on.
Before I was a nanny, I worked as a teacher at a middle school. I was able to get a little more in depth with my students about how exactly oxygen helps me and why I needed to wear it every day with me. I decided to properly explain it and showed my students diagrams of the lungs, how breathing works, and why I needed the assistance of oxygen.
If I’m not in the classroom and unable to make it into a science lesson that is age appropriate I have a hard time coming up with something when children wonder “what is on your face?”. Usually my response is, “it helps me to breathe better.” Or I compare it to something that they have seen before that helps people breathe like an inhaler (even thought the mechanisms of how an inhaler works vs how oxygen works is completely different).
Do you have children at home that ask you about your oxygen? How do you respond if a child asks why you need to use oxygen? How do you best explain this in a “kid friendly” way?
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