How to help your child with food allergies deal with social pressure

By Dr Richard Woolfson   — July 14, 2017
  • It's important to reassure your child
    1 / 5 It's important to reassure your child

    If your child has food allergies, parties may not be much fun. She feels left out because she knows she can’t eat or drink everything that her friends scoff down happily.

    For example, she can’t eat cake because it contains egg, or she can’t have a biscuit because it is made with nuts. Most times, she is served a separate treat, but sometimes she gets nothing at all. But she doesn’t need to feel lousy about herself.

    It’s important to reassure your child. She did not cause these allergies, so she should not blame herself.

    She will feel happier understanding that such physical sensitivities usually occur for no obvious reason – even the doctors don’t know why she has allergies, while her best friend is free of them.

    This could help her accept her situation so she doesn’t feel sad about it.

    Related: 4 ways to prevent allergy in your baby

     

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  • She is not alone
    2 / 5 She is not alone

    Explain that allergies are very common among children now, much more so than when you were a child.

    Many kids in her preschool therefore also face the same challenge; she is not the only kid who must watch what she eats and drinks.

    Point out that at least her allergies are manageable and don’t interfere too much with her life.

    Some children are allergic to certain materials and therefore must wear special clothes; others are particularly sensitive to specific particles found in the air so they can be badly affected by seasonal climate changes.

    Related: Allergies in children: 10 things parents must know

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  • Help her understand the nature of her allergies
    3 / 5 Help her understand the nature of her allergies

    Make sure your daughter understands the exact nature of her allergies, as well as foods she can and can’t eat, which allows her some control over their management.

    Draw up a list with products she needs to avoid, including specific brands.

    Related: Why doctors now say you should feed babies peanuts and other allergenic foods

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  • Keep her informed
    4 / 5 Keep her informed

    Discuss what she should do if she accidentally eats something she is allergic to.

    If she needs to carry anti-allergy medicine, how much should she take and under what circumstances?

    Go over these points again with her regularly. When your youngster becomes more comfortable talking to you about her allergies, she will feel less awkward and more confident when explaining them to her friends.

    Related: Food allergy horror: My baby took egg yolk and blacked out

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  • Enjoy it your way
    5 / 5 Enjoy it your way

    Of course, without chocolate cake, fizzy drinks and biscuits, birthday parties can become less fun for your child.

    Instead of hoping that the host would have prepared a separate plate for your child – she may be given the same plate as other kids minus all the fun bits – why not prepare her party bites yourself?

    Use ingredients you know she can eat so that the plate doesn’t look much different from the others. You can even call ahead to find out the items to be served at the party and produce a similar menu for your child.

    Take it along when you drop her off at the party and give it to the hosts with detailed instructions.

    Related: Baby food allergies: How to spot the symptoms

    (Photos: 123RF.com) 

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