Here are 4 tips to manage your child’s food allergies at school:
1) Make contact with school nutrition professionals early (before the school year starts if possible) and maintain contact frequently.
Make sure the kitchen manager and staff know you and introduce them to your child as well. See if you can go on a tour of the kitchen with your child, and meet all of the kitchen staff. Everyone in the school kitchen should know what your child looks like and what are his or her food allergies.
2) Make sure you have copies of all the forms you need to have filled out before school starts.
You will probably need to visit the doctor to get a doctor’s signature on the necessary paperwork. Turn in all forms and prescriptions before the first day of school. Being prepared with forms and taking the time, ahead of the start of school, will make the beginning less stressful.
Class management of school allergies includes classroom celebrations, field trips, and classroom activities involving food. Make sure all special activities teachers (art, music, PE, etc.) are aware of your child’s allergy, as well. If everyone involved in your child’s daily school activities is aware, there is a greater likelihood that there won’t be an issue of your child eating something he or she is allergic to. This tip to manage your child’s food allergies at school is extremely important.
4) Talk to your child and make sure he/she feels comfortable managing his/her food allergies at school.
Your child should understand at an age-appropriate level what foods can be eaten and what foods cannot be eaten, be aware of signs of an allergic reaction and know what to do if one occurs. Throughout the school year continue to check in with your child to make sure he is comfortable at school.
Working with your child’s school can help create a safe, comfortable environment for your child to learn. For more about food allergies, see the following resources:
Food Allergy Research and Education: http://www.foodallergy.org
Kids with Food Allergies: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team: http://www.foodallergyawareness.org