For children who have experienced food scarcity and hunger, insecurity about food can be a long lasting concern. We asked current foster, adoptive and kinship parents how they support children with insecurities about access to food. Here are some of the ideas they shared:
“A ‘yes box’ of food would be my first step. We kept it filled with simple shelf stable stuff like popcorn, poptarts, granola bars, etc so that kiddo could learn to regulate as he felt comfortable. I also immediately taught him some age-appropriate cooking skills so that he didn’t feel as limited and could cook some scrambled eggs or something if he wanted to.”
“Give them a plot of land to garden and work on it together. Everything they grow is theirs.”
“It takes a long time for kids to overcome food scarcity.
- Don’t withhold food as punishment.
- Have food available and accessible (healthy choices).
- Expect hoarding.
- Don’t make them ask/beg for food.
I took in my three grands who had been without food for long stretches, even in the safety of my home, with no restrictions, it took nearly a year for them to stop hoarding food. Patience and reassurance is a must. Also expect children to eat, eat, eat, out of fear there won’t be food later no matter how many times you try to assure them it will be available.”
“Get some sealable containers and put snacks in them and store them in the kid’s room. The kid will probably hoard, so this way you can eliminate shame and prevent pests.”
“A lot of small healthy snacks throughout the day, inclusion on meal plans, and lots of reassurance. We have had our little one for two months, and for four of those weeks we were constantly asked when the next time would be that we’d eat. We have a printed schedule of snack and meal time, and now he has it down. He loves helping pick meals and has the schedule down so well that he often beats us to the table. The past two weeks he has only asked about meals twice because both times our routine was altered due to meetings and appointments.”
“We have a small refrigerator filled with healthy foods and they all know it is theirs and they can take it whenever, as long as it does not interfere with ‘real meals’ as my 6-year-old says.”
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