A dad has warned other parents about discussing the coronavirus pandemic to their young children after he found a handwritten "preparation" note in his eight-year old daughter's bedroom.
Greg Hughes, from Perth, Australia, shared the seemingly harmless note on Facebook and wrote "this is the reason why I need to stop talking quite so much about pandemics and the coronavirus part two – the eight-year-old edition".
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The child's A4 page note was made up of three sections which included a preparation checklist, a list of hobbies and a heartbreaking confession detailing her feelings surrounding the pandemic – with Olivia admitting she felt "a little bit scared".
In the note, she said: "I feel a bit scared and fine as well, but I always feel better when I think no kid has died from it. But they should give us some days off if it cuts into [our] holidays."
Among the list of things she feels she must do to prepare, she wrote stocking up, finding things to occupy herself, hand washing, trying not to touch her face and making sure she stays a metre away from everyone t all times.
The eight-year-old also listed some of her favourite hobbies – including drawing, story writing and building a cubby – which will help keep her occupied during her time at home.
The father's post, and the note, has received a huge response online with hundreds of people praising Greg for his efforts in educating his young children – Olivia and her young sister Lucy – about the virus.
"An amazing testament to how well you've done to prepare her without causing panic – can you do a FB live session or Youtube video and explain this to the 'adults' who aren’t handling this with as much grace and common sense as what your daughter is displaying", one person wrote.
While another said: " It sounds like this was actually really good for her to do. She was able to feel in control by making a list herself, and jotting down her feelings"
And a third added: " Nice and thought out, better prepped than some adults"
Replying to one of the comments, Greg said he is "actually really proud' of how Olivia has handled the situation".
He said: "We have had some really adult conversations about the current situation and every time she encounters something she doesn't understand or that makes her feel uncomfortable we sit down and talk through it together,"
And added: "Real talk with no sugar-coating or fear-mongering."
Other parents shared their own experiences on how they have approached the the matter with their own children, with one dad saying: "My ten-year-old has really stepped up to the plate, dishes washing and being grown-up about hand washing and not going to the park".
The best way to talk to your kids about coronavirus
Australian parenting expert Sharon Witt said:
1. Generalise the facts so as not to place unnecessary stress on a child.
2. Remind your kids frequently not to worry.
3. If you have a young child, describe it as a 'bad bug that can make you sick'.
4. Prioritise the importance of hand washing, and make sure you tell kids to do so for two minutes with warm, soapy water.
5. Restrict TV programs and choose specific radio stations in the car.
6. If you have more kids who are curious, you should try to talk to them about it – but reinforce there is 'nothing to worry about'.
7. Stay up to date with the facts and keep kids at home if you suspect they are sick.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Australian parenting expert Sharon Witt shared her recommendations for how parents should communicate with children about COVID-19, saying the best way to communicate these facts is to generalise.
She said: "Never say you're going to die from this virus; never say it's deadly or fatal, because realistically any illness is deadly – even chickenpox."
Sharon insisted to describe the virus is a 'bad bug that can make you sick', and that the best thing to do is remind them not to worry and prioritise the importance of washing our hands more often with warm, soapy water for two minutes at a time.
If your parents are older and curious, Sharon suggested talking to them about it – but make sure you always reinforce that there is 'nothing to worry about'.
Lastly, she said you as a parent need to stay up to date with the facts and keep your kids at home if you suspect they are sick to avoid the risk of spreading.
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