How to Navigate Your Kids’ Allergies
As a parent, our major priority is to keep our kids healthy and safe! So when it comes to our kids developing allergies, it can be very overwhelming to navigate. Whether it is a recent development or one you’ve been dealing with for a while, there is always a constant focus on what can my kids eat? What can’t they eat? What is safe for my kids? How can I properly navigate these allergies with them?
We have some tips that we hope will help you have some clarity and confidence in dealing with your kids’ allergies - both at home and away.
Communicating Allergies With Your Children
According to Food Allergy Research & Education, communicating with your children about their allergies is absolutely crucial! Even at a young age, it is not only possible but also very important to make them part of the learning process with you.
FARE advises parents to keep it simple by taking this learning and teaching process with your kids one step at a time. Teach them simple terminology and show them pictures to explain what is safe and what can make them sick. Once they begin to understand these simple starting points, you can then involve them in grocery shopping, helping you cook, and giving them steps for what to do in case they develop a reaction.
Keeping Your Kids Safe
Once again, our biggest priority as a parent is to do everything we can to keep our kids safe. Especially when it comes to allergies, here are a few tips that we think will help:
Know The Signs
Knowing what to look out for and expect when introducing your children to new foods or even when trying to ensure their safety is going to give you more confidence in case of an emergency. Some of the typical signs of an allergic reaction include swelling, hives, excessive itching, shortness of breath, wheezing, and/or vomiting. If you see any of these reactions occur with your children, be sure to seek medical attention right away.
If you already know that your child has an allergy, be as prepared as you can! Chat with your doctor about whether your child needs an EpiPen (dose of epinephrine) for emergencies or whether Children’s Benadryl will do the trick. Always have the proper medication with you and be sure they stay up-to-date as well.
Communicate With Your Circle
Educate the people in your life about your child’s allergy. Whether that be your family members, neighbors, friends, or your child’s school administrators and teachers, it is imperative that everyone who is involved in your child’s life knows about his/her allergy AND what to do in case of a reaction. Give them the proper training if an EpiPen is required so they feel confident in an emergency situation as well. There is no such thing as too much communication when it comes to the safety of your kids!
Keeping Meals Safe
Grocery shopping and meal preparations can be one of the most overwhelming steps in navigating your children’s allergies. It can be scary, overwhelming, and even confusing at times. Take the time to do your research upfront and determine which brands are safe and which ones you want to avoid. Learn to read labels to avoid any allergic triggers and shared lines, and be sure to teach your children to do the same thing!
There are tons of companies and brands out there that pride themselves on offering products that are allergen-free and safe for children with food allergies. Maja’s baking mixes, for example, are actually free of the top 14 allergens! Make yourself a safe brand list and stick with that list when grocery shopping and meal prepping to make life a little easier.
Food allergies in children can be daunting! Always keep in mind the importance of communication and preparation when navigating your child’s allergies in order to keep them safe, healthy, and reaction-free.