Having a child with food allergies can be hard. Not only do you have to learn a whole new set of cooking and cleaning tricks, but you have to screen every play date your child goes on too. It’s hard to completely trust someone who might not understand the severity of your child’s food allergies. However, teaching your child’s friends about food allergies can be the answer you need. By having all the children educated on food allergies, you can trust your child is safe at any play date and watch them thrive with their friends.
Most children’s books are written in order to teach a lesson. Whether it’s the obvious ABC rhyme or the complicated moral dilemma of an elementary school kid, these books are written to educate children. Given this, there’s no reason not to add a book about food allergies to the mix. Enough parents have written stories and created characters with food allergies in order to support their allergic child, so make sure to take advantage of some of the amazing books out there and educate the children in your child’s life.
Similar to books, many children’s programs are written in order to teach a message. Some shows have full characters dealing with food allergies and others simply feature episodes on food allergies. Either way, these programs can be a great, entertaining way to educate children on food allergies. Additionally, the advantage of many of these shows is the simple way in which these problems are presented. Instead of dumping complicated information on the children, the programs are able to break it down into situations that children can understand.
Apps, board games and even playing pretend are all great ways to get children involved in understanding food allergies. Different than books and television, having children play a game on food allergies actually gets them actively involved in their own understanding. This forces children to think up creative solutions to issues that might come up and allows them to experience the possible dangers of an allergic reaction in a safe way.
Children spend most of their time and do most of their learning in classrooms, given this, it is only natural that when trying to educate children on food allergies you bring it to the classroom. This learning opportunity can come in the form of worksheets, lectures of even arts and crafts. The important part is keeping the content light and easy so that children will be able to learn as much as possible.
Songs in the classroom, in the car, in bed or in the living room on a Sunday afternoon. Music plays a huge part in most of our lives and for children, oftentimes, music comes in the form of educational songs. Given this, there’s no reason that amongst that educational playlist, there shouldn’t be a song about food allergies. Featuring songs about food allergies can normalize allergies for children while also teaching them about the dangers surrounding them.
Perhaps the most obvious way to teach kids about food allergies is to simply speak with them. Oftentimes, parents will be worried about this, for fear of scaring them, however, children are stronger than we think and most likely looking to learn. Make sure to take it slow and to also introduce solutions – not just problems – and make sure to answer any questions they might have.
Turn a trip to the grocery store into a learning opportunity. By showing your children the different foods that may be dangerous for their allergic friend and which foods they will be able to enjoy you are providing them with a tangible and visual understanding of food allergies. Show them the peanut butter that they should avoid and the gluten free cookies that they can share.
One of the biggest fears with food allergies is the helplessness your child may feel. Having your child and their friend’s role play situations can teach them ways in which they can be helpful in time of an emergency. Show them to run to an adult or to find a teacher, teach them how to explain to a waiter about their friend’s allergies and make sure to play out different situations so that they know that there is always a way they can help.
For parents of children with food allergies, keeping your child safe is a full time job. Every recipe, ingredient and snack needs to be double and even triple checked. However, perhaps the most difficult is trusting your child to go and be safe when you are not around them. By teaching their friends and classmates about their food allergy you can begin a narrative in the classroom and make the children an active part of your child’s safety.
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA