As a parent, it is your right and responsibility to advocate for your child, whether in the classroom or on the playground. When it comes to your child’s food allergy, you have a unique opportunity to educate others in order to keep your child safe. Here are a few tips to help others understand how to handle food allergies:
Educate your child’s friends about food allergies. Even in preschool, children can be introduced to the concept that some foods make people very sick. Encourage them not to share food, to wash their hands frequently, and to tell an adult if their friend with an allergy becomes sick. Hopefully, by educating children at a young age, you will prevent future bullying, which can be seen once children approach middle childhood and adolescence.
Let all of the parents in your child’s classroom know that your child has an allergy and ask them to notify you before offering any type of food to your child.
Consider asking your child’s teacher to send home a letter in the beginning of the school year letting parents know that a child in the class has a food allergy. Such a letter can help promote the idea of teamwork in managing your child’s allergy. Your child’s teacher can also play a key role in educating other parents about food allergies.
Consider becoming a “room mom or dad” in your child’s classroom to have a better idea of the outside food that may be brought into the classroom for snacks, birthday parties, and special occasions.
The Food Allergy Research and Education website has a unique program geared specifically toward children. Their “Be A PAL” program teaches children how to be a good friend to children with food allergies. Talk to your child’s teacher to see if the program could be introduced to the entire class to promote awareness from an early age.
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