I have received quite a bit of private messages regarding school activities and how to handle them when having food allergies. It’s normal for a parent to feel nervous, especially a parent of a food-allergic child. Will my child be safe? Will they know what to do if she has a reaction? Will they know what to avoid? These are just some of the questions that go through our minds on a daily basis.
When it comes to planning school events and activities, it make us even more nervous. Most of the time, food is a big part of school events. Every holiday there has to be a food related project or fundraiser. I know with my son’s school, Halloween is all about candy, Thanksgiving they have a “feast” at lunch time”, Christmas is about cookies, Valentines day is about candy, Easter is coloring eggs in class and of course candy; everything has to have food involved.
To ease the stress level, try to talk with the classroom teacher and explain your child’s allergies. If you don’t feel comfortable with your child doing “food projects”, ask if they can do non-food projects. It is best to research some non-food related projects off the internet to give the teacher some options when talking with him/her.
With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching, here are some examples of non-food related school projects:
- Teach an Irish step dance.
- Decorate the room with shamrocks made from construction paper.
- Plan a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt that leads to a pot of gold filled with treasures,( pens, pencils, stickers and/or erasers).
- Read about Irish history
For a pre-spring break activity:
Plan a nature walk to see plants re-awakening inthe spring weather.
Decorate plastic eggs with paints and stickers.
Decorate flowerpots for parents and plant a flower or seed.
Have parents donate plants that children can plant in the school yard or at a housing project, senior center, or other community site.
Another option is to ask to volunteer in the classroom on special days where you know food will be an issue. Days such as the last day of school before spring break. That day is usually all about Easter related activities. Egg painting, candy and Easter egg hunts are just some of the activities that you typically see. If you are there, you can monitor anything your child is exposed to, to make sure it is safe.
Good communication is the key to a successful allergy-free school year. If you communication on a regular basis with the ones who will be around your child the most, they can prepare themselves properly. Also, when communication is good, they all can feel comfortable with calling you anytime of the school day, if there is a question or concern.
School is about learning. Make sure you teach your child to be safe and understand what is safe and what isn’t. When in doubt, throw it out!
Have a question regarding Peanut, Tree Nut or Other food allergies in school? Want to suggest a topic for me to discuss? Follow Me on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/ptomom or Contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org and follow my Inspiredeats column here.
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*All information on this page is not to be taken instead of medical advice.*