When a child has a food allergy, intolerance or restriction, they often can't enjoy the same lunchbox snacks or order from the school canteen like other kids, which can sometimes make them feel excluded in social situations or completely left without. So many childhood events that are often taken for granted - such as birthday parties, school events and playdates - suddenly become a challenge, not to mention frightening for parents at the idea of leaving their child in an environment that could potentially expose them to an allergen.
However, there are a number of ways that you can help your little one feel included. Here are some of our top tips:
#1 Don’t make it a big deal
Although food allergies can be tough for children to deal with, try not to over-dramatise the situation. Striking a balance between being sympathetic and normalising their condition is best. Encouraging a balanced perspective can help them see their allergies in a new light - one that isn’t so gloomy!
#2 Explain your child’s allergy simply to other children
Just as we suggest normalising the topic with your child, try using the same approach when talking about your child’s allergies with other children if they ask questions. If you don’t make it seem like a big deal, they probably won’t either and will be more understanding.
#3 Come to events prepared
While allergy-friendly foods are often provided at events on request, unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan and mistakes can easily happen during busy food preparations. We suggest to always pack a lunchbox or cooler for your little one so that they are never left feeling hungry. This way, they can still enjoy snacks and meals with their friends.
#4 Eat similar foods
Sometimes despite our best intentions, our own homes can be a potential environment for isolation. Family dinners where everyone is enjoying the same meal except for your allergic child can make them feel like they’re on the outside. Try having the same allergy-friendly food as your little one when eating together for moral support.
#5 Communicate with parents and teachers
While you most likely already do, we can’t stress how important it is to let teachers and other parents know about your little one’s allergies. Not only for your child’s safety, but raising awareness may also encourage others to be more mindful of providing safe alternatives as class rewards, snacks, and so on.
At Sprout, inclusivity is a founding principle to who we are. Food brings us together, so we believe that one of the best ways to foster inclusivity is to create nutrient-rich and convenient foods for kids which are free from common allergies, suitable for vegans, Kosher and Halal friendly for all children to enjoy.
That’s why all of our products are free from ingredients that cause 90% of all allergic reactions: eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. Our products are also certified vegan, Halal and Kosher. Safe for kids with dietary restrictions, nutritious and delicious for all. Click here to browse our range.