Families of government employees found themselves without pay for more than a month, which made housing for some of them difficult, Health care and food. Funding of government programs for children, such as the supplementary nutrition assistance program (BREAK) and the special supplementary nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC), is threatened. And there are reports that federal school feeding programs will experience cuts, including North Carolina and Kansas.
Dr. Thomas Ollendick, professor of psychology at Virginia Tech, a specialist in stress and anxiety in children, told ABC News that it could be difficult for families to discuss insecurity financial and food related to the Government judgment. He said it was better to anticipate their questions and give them the opportunity to expose them to age-appropriate news.
"It's around the age of 8 that kids start talking about the world. For some children, they may not have the cognitive ability to understand some issues and reorientation may be the most appropriate strategy, "Ollendick said. "Dinnertime can be a great opportunity for these discussions and allow you to provide context and answer questions."
Garbage begins to accumulate along the National Mall, near the Washington Monument, due to the partial closure of the federal government in Washington, DC on December 24, 2018.
Ollendick acknowledged that the government's closure had stressed many people, but warned parents not to let this stress extend to their children. To do this, he said that it was best to try to control our own level of stress when we are around them and not to convey concern or concern. anxiety to children.
"We want to convey understanding and empathy, not anger and stress," he said.
This becomes all the more important when a child is stressed because adding more stress and anxiety will only make things worse.
"Uncertainty is one of the most difficult problems to solve with children. They will want to know, "When will things get back to normal?" And you will not be able to give a concrete answer, "said Ollendick.
That's when it's best to show them empathy and use affirmations that you're listening to them, such as "I hear you".
To help them calm down, deep breathing can be helpful, Ollendick said. It can also be helpful to change the subject and talk about the projects you have with your child, coming back about closing only once they have had the chance to calm down.
Dr. Erica Orsini is a resident physician in internal medicine and a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.