I have two daughters, one with food allergies and one without. Sometimes it feels like I've got one foot in two worlds. The one child can't have many things that the other one can. This sometimes creates awkward situations. We don't bring peanut or tree nut products into our home and as a family out and about together, we avoid high-risk places like ice cream shops, doughnut shops and Thai food (which my youngest loves.)
Sometimes brother(s) or sister(s) can feel deprived if they are not getting the chance to enjoy the things that they can eat and do, even though their food-allergic sibling can't.
If you have kids both with food allergies and without, you know exactly what I mean. Our entire family empathizes with our oldest daughter and the fact that she can't enjoy the same foods that we can, at times. Still, we want our youngest to be able to partake of, say, an ice cream cone at an ice cream shop.
To make sure everybody gets their fair share, I've begun taking my youngest daughter to a place that's usually off-limits and I shoot for once a week. For example, last week we went to Dunkin Donuts. You would have thought I just gave the kid a million dollars; she beamed the whole time. We're going back this week and then going to a Halloween store (already!!!!) to look around.
This is special time together for the two of us, but it also lets my youngest be free of food allergy restraints that are imposed on her for the sake of her sister.
My oldest isn't left out, either. I also make a point to go out and do a non-food related (or safe food-related, sometimes) activity with her. We like to look at resale an antique shops together or go to the bookstore or library or even a movie that is "too old" for her younger sister.
It's hard to balance the needs of the allergic kids from the non-allergic. The kids without allergies don't always understand that the reason we sometimes give extra attention to the others is because of health and safety. They may just see it as extra attention, period, so I've found that it's really important to show them equal time.
If you have both non-allergic and allergic kids in your family, how do you balance their needs?