How to Party (Safely) When Your Child Has A Food Allergy
What an amazing time to be a kid! Every weekend there is at least one party. When managing a child’s food allergy these parties can be stressful and create tension with other parents. While you can choose to keep your child at home, AND THAT IS OK, we want to share some tricks for how to make these parties work for your situation and how to keep your child safe.
Call the host ahead of time.
Some parents are willing to accommodate your child and others just won’t. We all have had dreams of creating the perfect party for our child and we are all a little bit stressed and tired as parents. Some just won’t get it.
Don’t call the morning of the party. Call in advance, when the parent is not running around to pull off the party. You want the parent to listen and understand you.
Ask what will be served.
You are your child’s advocate so get comfortable asking questions. Ask if you can see the recipe for the cake. Ask where the cake is from. Ask how food will be served? Ask if other parents will be there. You can call the bakery or store to see if the processes they follow fit your needs. Do what you need to do.
Making the call? Try our practice script! Hi Johnnie’s Mom or Dad, my child has a food allergy and I want to make sure he is safe at your party. Do you have time to talk to me? Great. My child is allergic to X. This means he could die if he eats even a very small trace of x. I don’t mean to scare you, but I must make sure he stays safe. For him to come, I’d like to know what you are serving, and make sure there is an adult at the party who knows how to identify the signs of an allergic reaction and knows how to react.
Stay to play (and protect)
Ask if you can stay for the party. Some hosts will feel more comfortable if you are there and can help make sure there is not an accidental exposure and if something does happen you are there to take control. Do it! You can make a new friend, too.
Offer to bring safe treats either for just your child or some to share. This is where having a food allergy in party season (which feels like always) can be expensive. Please remember, you don’t need to accommodate the whole party.
Practice with your child
Role plays sometimes feel silly but they are a great way to practice. Depending on the situation, “No thank you, I brought my own food” is always a good phrase to have ready.
Trust your gut, if something doesn’t feels right don’t do it.
No shame there. You’ve got this!