Back-to-School Classroom Food Safety for Allergic Children

Back to school shopping is here and perhaps a new lunch box is on the list along with a backpack and classroom supplies.  Kids love snack and lunch times and will often share food with each other.  While this spirit of generosity is something we love to see in our kids, it can create a real problem for those with food allergies or sensitivities.

credit: @Flickr:  JustMe...Val

credit: @Flickr: JustMe…Val

So what can YOU do to protect your child?  Here are a few of our tips!

Assume that food will be used in the classroom for lessons or rewards.
At the beginning of the year, talk to your child’s teacher about his/her food allergies and sensitivities.  Follow-up with a thank you email and include all your contact information. This is a positive way to encourage the use of alternative foods or nonfood items for activities or rewards.

Volunteer to be a room mother or classroom helper.
Room Mothers usually plan parties and there are lots of them:  Thanksgiving, winter holidays, Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter and more!  By helping out you can ensure the selection of a party menu that is healthy and will work for all the children in the classroom.

Teach your child to speak up.
While it’s hard to be “different”, learning to stand up for what is best for you is a valuable life skill.  Start by doing some role-playing at home.  Is your child comfortable saying “no thank you” when another wants to switch or share lunch items? Or reminding a teacher or other adult about their food requirements?

Find out if the school has developed any kind of policy to address the needs and safety of children with food allergies.
Make sure to read it, understand it and feel confident that it’s being enforced.

Food allergies and sensitivities can cause physical illness as well as behavioral and leaning issues.  If this is a concern for your child, make an appointment soon to ensure a smooth school year! Call us at (408) 891-8222.

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