It can be tough being Gluten Intolerant, but it can be really tough being the parent of a gluten intolerant child. Especially a school age child. Suddenly not only do you have the regular worries about your child at school, butyou have to worry about whether you can keep your child gluten-free while they are away from your watchful eye.
Although my days of being the parent of school age children are long past,I have granddaughters that are in, second grade and pre-school. My second grade granddaughter was diagnosed with several food allergies last year, including wheat, lactose and peanuts.
So today I have some tips for keeping your gluten intolerant or celiac child a little safer while they’re at school.
When the new school year starts, meet with your child’s teacher and discuss your child’s celiac disease and the absolute necessity for them to stay gluten free in school.
Assemble a packet of information that includes a list of unacceptable foods, a description of celiac disease, and possible side effects in gluten is ingested. (Such as urgent and immediate use of the bathroom).
Even though most schools have emergency care cards that include phone numbers, include emergency numbers in the packet for the teacher, (it will save precious time in the event of them needing to reach you immediately).
If you assemble the packet ahead of time it can be used over again every year.
If the teacher is open to keeping treats in her desk, you may want to leave a box of gluten free cookies or some other gluten free treat so that there is always a treat at the ready for your child when there are birthdays or some other unscheduled snack.
If your child is in school all day and lunch is an issue, you will definitely want to pack their lunch every day. That is the only way to semi guarantee that they are eating gluten free. (As long as they don’t share a friend’s lunch). You can find some kid friendly recipes here and here.
Aside from food with gluten in them, you must also be aware of gluten in art products. I’ll have more on that in tomarrows blog post.
The most important tip is to start teaching your child about their food allergy or intolerance very early on. They don’t want to be sick any more than you want them to be sick. So if you teach them the foods that make them sick and also food that is safe from the start, they will learn how to look out for themselves and then the time that they are away from you may not be so worrisome.