Preparing kids with food allergies for school
I remember back in elementary school, my lunch trays were stacked with garlic bread because I would trade anyone for those buttery pieces of goodness. For someone who has a child with food allergies, this could be terrifying to hear. With food allergies becoming more and more prevalent, this is something that is becoming a common concern.
Food allergies are scary, but there are things you can do at home and at school to make sure your children are prepared.
What you can do at home
It’s very important and helpful to increase your child’s awareness and independence regarding their food allergies at an early age. Teach them how to speak up when someone offers them food and what to look for on a food label. This can make you feel less like a “helicopter parent,” and your child will feel safer and more confident in dealing with their food allergies. It's quite common for us to hear from parents how mature their child is among their peers and it's no surprise to us. Children with food allergies are faced with hard challenges early in life that other kids do not experience.
Another thing you can do is start to create a network of people who know about your child’s food allergies. This can be anyone from friends to teachers. Tell them about safe practices and increase their awareness about food allergies. This practice creates a safer environment for your child, and children with food allergies in the future. With food allergies becoming so commonplace, it's very important to make people in your life more aware of food allergies and how to prevent allergic reactions.
What you can do at school
Begin by creating a safe lunch for your child. Use a lunch container with different sections to separate food. If you’re making food for other members of the family that could trigger your child’s allergies, make sure you prepare that food in a separate area to eliminate cross contamination.
The classroom is where your child spends a lot of their day and you need to be confident it’s safe for them. Supply your child’s teacher with simple resources like a specific list of what your child needs to avoid and what a reaction could look like. It will help the teacher create an environment at school where your child is safe and not left out.
Food allergies aren’t fun, but they don’t have to ruin your child’s time at school. If your child has severe food allergies and you want a way of giving them a safer life, schedule a consult with us about OIT.