|My daughter, age 5, on her first day of kindergarten. She is now 12! Time flies....|
No doubt about it. When dealing with food allergies, school can be stressful. We begin a new school this year, too, and of course there are always unknowns. However, I've learned a few things along the way that have helped our family. The links below provide my own blog posts and some great articles from others on how to deal with school and food allergies.
Before I give you the list of links, I think it's important to realize that your worry never completely goes away, but good preparation is key to success.
Just as you help your school to understand what is necessary to protect your child's health and you have a formal written plan (like an Individual Health Plan (IHP) or a 504), be sure you are working with your child so that they understand how to become their own best advocates.
Whether it is learning to refuse foods that haven't received your approval or simply making sure they wash or wipe their hands before eating, even little kids can learn about their allergies and help manage them (though little ones need a lot of help from the adults, of course). My daughter's kindergarten teacher used to tell me that my daughter always questioned any foods -- even those that might have been OK previously. Your kids can learn to do this, too, and I encourage you to practice the "when in doubt, do without" rule.
I will have more about school in future posts. For now, these links should be timely and helpful as you enjoy the rest of your summer and prepare for school.
Nut-Free Mom's back to school posts:
Food Allergy Emergency Action Plan with a link to a PDF
Information on 504 Plans (a 504 Plan is a legal document outlining care for your child while at school):
504 Plan for Food Allergies by Dr. Robert Wood, author of "Food Allergies for Dummies"
The Food Allergy Initiative's page on 504 Plans