Back to school can be a very scary time for parents of kids with food allergies. When I first sent my son off to Kindergarten, I worried for weeks on end. It took awhile but because I developed such an open relationship with the staff, I soon felt peace about it.
I thought I would share with you a few things I’ve learned a long the way. First, meet with the teacher BEFORE school starts. Lay those ground rules and make sure everyone understands what needs to be done and how your child’s food allergies must be handled.
Second, make a book about it. Ok, more like a folder. I print off all of my son’s emergency contact information along with his allergens and what to do in case of an emergency as in, step by step instructions. Then, I place it in a well labeled paper folder. This is very helpful especially if you have a substitute teacher.
Third, make sure the classroom (not just the front office) is well stocked with safe snacks, epi-pens, contact information, etc. I leave snacks for the teacher in case they celebrate anything special and my son needs a treat. I also leave wipes for the kids so they can wipe their hands after treats or lunch. Remember, hand sanitizer does not remove allergens it only removes germs.
Preparation can go a long way. Of course, it’s always a good thing to talk to your child too. I instruct my son to let his teacher know of any itching, runny nose, etc. He’s become better at telling them especially now that he has entered the ‘let me go to the office because I’m sick and then I get to go home’ phase.
I hope that helps put some fears to rest. Again, open communication is key. Make sure the teacher knows that he/she can contact you at any time and let them know you prefer that too! I would rather a teacher call me everyday than not at all.
Happy back to school!
Be sure to check out our Food Allergen information including the Substitution List.