Christmas is such a special time for those of us who love the Lord. It is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Unfortunately it has also become one of the most stressful times of the year.
The hustle and bustle of shopping, church programs, getting together with families and friends tends to create self-imposed stress. As adults most of know when to back off, say no and we’ve learned to take time to enjoy the season.
Unfortunately for many kids, their families, surroundings and circumstances don’t give them the option of a calm Christmas. Most are stressed to the max. For many kids, it’s the unknown in terms of what this Christmas is going to be like that is causing stress.
There are many things you can do to accommodate these children. One of the things is to be aware of is the kinds of foods stressed out children need. Foods that are comforting in the mouth (such as apple sauce) feel good and comforting to many children.
When my son was in third grade he ate jar after jar of applesauce. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with him eating so much applesauce. Now I understand that the softness and the comforting feeling in the mouth helped him as he was adjusting to his dad’s moving out. The applesauce met a need he had.
Some children need comfort foods from their younger years or foods that are culturally appropriate. Foods that can fill a need are
- Macaroni and cheese
- Creamy puddings
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
When our country experienced 911, my grandson had to come and live with me because both parents were in the military. Even though his parents weren’t divorced, it was a separation from his parents and he was moved from his home and childcare to another state, home and childcare.
When Thanksgiving came around, I took my grandson to our family Thanksgiving meal at my mother’s. My two year-old grandson helped us set the table; helped stir the mashed potatoes; put food on the table and in general helped as best he could. He called everyone to the table when it was time to eat. As he climbed up to the table and looked around he said,
Where’s the rice?
My son in-law is Filipino, and they have rice at all the important meals. This upset the two year-old so much he wouldn’t join us at the table for our Thanksgiving meal. When this child is stressed due to life issues, rice is the one food he wants to eat.
Other foods that help children who are under stress are foods high in potassium. Stress tends to deplete our bodies of potassium. Foods that are high in potassium and need to be served everyday over the holidays include:
- Orange juice
- Potatoes – especially mashed potatoes as they are soft and comforting as well
As children’s ministers and volunteers you might think about having applesauce or raisins for snack treats during the holidays. Perhaps serving orange juice to drink will help some stressed out children. Or serve water. Stressed children need copious amounts of water so give water to drink.
This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on December 17, 2013.