Tips for Keeping Your Food Allergic Child Safe in the Classroom
When raising a child with food allergies or sensitivities, you automatically become accustomed to certain behaviors: Checking labels, asking specific questions in restaurants and social situations, and packing special snacks and meals become second nature. But what happens when you’re not around to monitor and regulate what your child eats or becomes in contact with?
The classroom, especially, can be a place of concern for allergy parents. However, there are certain precautions you can take to be sure that your child is kept safe from allergies when he or she at school. Here are some:
Although sharing is typically encouraged in a classroom setting, it can become dangerous for a young child with allergies. Explain this to your child, and also ask his or her teacher to implement a “no food sharing or trading” rule.
Throughout the school year, unplanned events or festivities will likely occur. To ensure that your child will be able to participate without compromising his or her health, provide their teacher with a variety of safe snacks (as well as a list of options that may be added to a snack rotation) in advance.
Furthermore, create a special folder about your child and his or her allergies to include possible triggers and symptoms. This will allow the teacher (and any substitute teachers who may come along) to be properly prepared.
Ask whether there is a hand washing station available to the children, and encourage them to wash their hands after eating. If there is no hand washing station, suggest that hand sanitizing wipes be provided. These can be used to wash hands as well as tables, chairs, doorknobs, and any other surface that may possibly become contaminated throughout the day.
PROVIDE NON-FOOD REWARDS
Oftentimes, children are given snacks or candy as a reward in the classroom. Instead, ask your teacher whether he or she may provide non-food rewards – such as stickers, small toys, or school supplies. Dollar stores and craft supplies are great resources for this – and you’ll incentivize your child to learn without relying on possibly dangerous food items.