Today was the day for us--that annual holiday known as The First Day of School! For many parents, the first day is exciting plus a little sad, since summer is over and your kids are one year further away from being your babies. :) And for food allergy parents, the first day is a mixed bag of anxiety (major or minor depending on your experience), cautious optimism and nerves. Even though my daughter is 10 and allergy aware, you never know what type of food allergy-related issues you will encounter.
Lately I have received many e-mails from readers with school concerns. The number one best piece of advice reminds me of that Journey song: "Don't Stop Believing." Except that I would change it to "Don't Stop Communicating." Even though we have forms galore and copious doctors notes to present to the school each year, that is no guarantee that everyone understands what needs to happen and that things are settled once and for all.
One thing to remember is that, as parents, we are most concerned for our children so we are their best advocates. Plus, teachers have increasingly large class sizes--we can help them out by staying on top of class parties, treats policies and up-to-date medications.
Don't stop communicating. Check in with your child's teacher and keep in touch with the health staff. Become known to them and then you will be in the know. If your work schedule doesn't allow volunteering or making treats, you can still check in with e-mails and phone calls. If you can find the time, showing up as a party coordinator or occasional volunteer will give you great insights on what food allergy issues still need to be addressed at your school.
Don't stop communicating. Or believing for that matter. Do what you can to be your child's best advocate and then have faith that your school year will be happy, safe and reaction-free.
Happy school year to all of you!