Nothing like an invite to spend a hot afternoon swimming, playing baseball and grilling with dear friends. Is there really any better way to celebrate summer? But what if your child has numerous allergies? And foods with those allergies are all over the serving table?
Daniella, a mom who faced just this scenario, offers practical tips to keep kids safe–and allow everyone to have fun. Bonus: Kids who can handle stress with poise and spirit. Follow her Smart Allergy blog to get products and resources for ‘Navigating the Twists and Turns of Your Food Allergy Journey’. Thanks for sharing your story and advice, Daniella.
We arrived at our dear friends’ home for a pool party and barbecue. The kids hit the water and my husband quickly got comfortable socializing and relaxing poolside. To my embarrassment, I entered a type of twilight zone. The dining room table was covered with eye-catching food items. Almonds in a bowl, tempting cream cheese-filled strawberries and many enticing and unusual snacks.
Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?
Unless, of course, your children are allergic to items such as milk, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts. I caught myself staring at the peanut-butter filled celery sticks conveniently placed at the edge of the table. To most visitors, this standard snack is tasty and healthy with a nice dose of protein. For me, ‘anaphylaxis’ warnings are going off.
I am thinking about how the peanut butter may get accidentally smeared on a doorknob or household surface. If my child gets this on his hands, how close is the nearest hospital? His first peanut reaction was slow. This time would likely be much faster.
Oh my…what to do?
My first thought is to grab the kids and leave. My husband can find a ride home, if needed. However, would this really be the best option?
Hesitantly, I asked my husband. His approach was simple and straight forward: talk with our kids and discuss our food concerns, especially the celery sticks and peanut butter. Remind them to speak with us before eating anything.
And that’s exactly what we did. Guess what? They behaved safely and responsibly. They avoided the main table. They asked before eating anything.
We ALL completely enjoyed an evening spent with friends.
I had to get over the fear of the MILK, TREE NUTS and PEANUTS, OH MY. No matter what their allergies are, we, as parents, can’t protect them all of the time. Our greatest gift to them is equipping them with the confidence and ability to make the right decisions in regard to their own safety when necessary.
I am coming to realize that having food allergies has it’s own blessings and we can learn a lot from how our children handle situations. These two kids handled their evening with poise and spirit. They realized before I did that it’s the company you keep, NOT the food you eat which makes a great party!
Daniella Knell is the owner of Smart Allergy~Friendly Education. As a mother of two with multiple and life-threatening food allergies, she is an ardent advocate of allergy awareness and education within her community. Through 10 of her 21 years of service with Delta Air Lines, she was a flight attendant instructor. Since 2007, she has been fortunate enough to be able to combine her two passions; offering motivational support in managing food allergies and teaching. She offers educational classes to children and adults, one-on-one consulting and presents national telephone workshops for those managing life with food allergies and dietary restrictions.
Daniella Knell is mom to two kids with food allergies. She also recently came home from a 10-day getaway with her husband--just her husband! Here are her tips for leaving the kids safely home with other caregivers.
Play dates are good for all: kids get to interact and learn; parents get ever-coveted adult interaction! But what about play dates with kids who have food allergies? How do you ensure it’s a safe time that truly is good for all? Our friend and blogger Emily shares her experiences and tips on surviving a play date with kids who have food allergies.
Tags: adapting for peanut butter allergies, childhood food allergies, children with food allergies, nut-free play date, peanut butter alternative, play date with food allergies, play dates for kids with food allergies, play dates with allergic kids, safe play dates, sun butter, SunButter