One thing that all food allergy parents have in common is fear. Not your ordinary parenting fears but the fear that someone could have food that will kill your child. Remind me to tell you about the time my 4 year old asked me if he was going to die.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to live in fear. I know that bad things happen every day but those freak accidents and acts of violence seem pretty far removed from the world of my 4 year old. Other dangers are much more likely to cause him harm.
Foods that Harm
My son is allergic to peanuts. He has other allergies and food intolerance but peanuts have the potential for the most harm.
Thankfully, my son has never had a severe, life-threatening encounter with peanuts. When he was just over a year old we noticed that he would turn red, cry (scream) and scratch his face and neck after having peanut butter. I told his pediatrician and she said it sounded like he was allergic but didn’t recommend allergy testing. You can read that long story here.
By the time he was 2 years old I had a better understanding of his food allergies although we hadn’t seen an allergist (which was dumb, you should definitely see an allergist). Since that time I’ve done a lot of things right. The best thing I’ve done is to teach my son, and his brother, to be an advocate.
Teaching Your Child to Be A Food Allergy Advocate
Today I’m starting a series about teaching your child to be a food allergy advocate. (Stay with me if you don’t have food allergies, this will help you too.) I’ve asked a few other food allergy friends to join me. This series is perfect for anyone with kids with food allergies. It won’t be overly focused on any specific allergy but we will all share from our experience.
We will be covering the following topics plus more:
- The Food Allergy Game by Kathy of Food Allergy Jams
- Teaching Kids to Only Eat Safe Foods by Cindy at Vegetarian Mamma
- Teaching Other People About Your Child’s Food Allergies Kathryn of Mamacado
- Teaching Kids to Say No by Sarah or Don’t Feed My Monkeys.
Once your child is diagnosed with food allergies your life will never be the same. It’s a huge shock to the system and a new way of life. For the next month my fellow food allergy friends will share what we have done to teach our kids to thrive with food allergies.
But We Don’t Have Food Allergies
Even if you or your child doesn’t have food allergies you will be able to learn a lot from this series. It’s all about teaching kids to eat safe food. These lessons can easily be adapted to teach kids to make healthy choices.
Will you join us? I hope so! If you have questions about raising a child with food allergies (or being the best friend to a child with food allergies) please ask in the comments! We will try to cover the most requested topics over the next month!
I have one last story for you. When my son was 3 years old we were taking him to the baby sitting service at the movie theater. He rarely got to go anywhere like this because of his food allergies. He was wearing his allergy bracelet and I had spoken at length about his allergies to the staff. They had strict policies in place to keep kids with food allergies safe. I explained to my son, “you are going to a new, fun place tonight. You can have popcorn and water there. They only have safe food.” He was 3 years old and didn’t really understand what I was talking about. He had a really sad look on his face, he asked “am I going to die.” My heart broke. I hugged him, I kissed him and told him I would keep him safe and not take him somewhere if I thought we would get hurt.
Food allergy kids understand even when they don’t.