I know, I know, it's early for some of us to think about school, but I've already started getting many questions and hearing concerns from parents who are about to send kids to school for the first time. Plus, there is so much to do, it helps the stress level to start early and avoid the mad rush right before school begins.
It can be scary to contemplate dropping your young child off at school with the knowledge that they will be around food and situations beyond your control, sometimes for the first time. However, if you keep open communication with the school and stay on top of things like parties, you will be one step closer to ensuring a safe and enjoyable school year for you, your child, the teacher and everyone in the class.
July is a good time to get started. If your school office is currently closed, try setting up meetings via e-mail for later in the summer. The important thing is to make contact early so that you can iron out details before the first day of school.
Here are a few things to do this month:
•Schedule any doctor's appointments and have your allergist complete important paperwork such as Food Allergy Action Plans, notes and other medical documents that you need for the school nurse or a 504 Plan if you have one. Make sure to include recent photo of your child (such as a school portrait) that can be glued/taped onto their emergency plan. FAAN has Food Allergy Action Plans on their website.
•Schedule a meeting with the principal and district nurse. If they are on vacation, send them an e-mail or leave a phone message with the distrtict asking for a meeting before school begins. Many schools offer these meetings for parents to discuss everything at one time. This meeting would also be a time to discuss things like peanut-free tables.
• Review your current epinephrine autoinjector prescriptions and renew them if necessary. Have at least 2 autoinjectors for school--one for the health office and one for your child's classroom.
•Make sure your child has a Medical ID bracelt (or other medical ID jewelry)such as you'll find at Lauren's Hope (I just interviewed them for this blog) and Hope Paige medical ID jewelery. If your child feels fashionable, her or she will be more excited about wearing this important item.
•Stock up on lunch gear for all those packed lunches you'll be making. I love all of the eco-friendly (and cost-saving) reusable lunch container choices out there right now. The "bento style" lunch containers look cool for kids plus they keep your costs down--no more buying disposable bags. Check Target, Whole Foods and online at places like Lunch Bots.