How to Party Safely with Food Allergies
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 for all parents involved. While you can choose to keep your child at home, AND THAT IS OK, we want to share some tricks for how to make it work with food allergies and parties and 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 preparing for the party. You want the parent to have time to listen and understand you.
Ask what food will be served at the party.
You are your child’s advocate, so get comfortable asking lots of questions. Ask if you can see the recipe for the cake and where the cake is from. How will food be served? Also, ask if other parents will be there. You can use this information to come up with a plan, such as calling 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 need to make sure he stays safe. In order 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 A) help make sure there is not an accidental exposure and B) take control of the situation if something happens. Do it! You can make a new friend, too.
Bring something allergen-friendly
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 because of your child’s food allergy.
Practice with your child
Role play sometimes feels silly, but it is a great way to practice. Depending on the situation, “No thank you, I brought my own food” is always a good phrase for your kid to have ready.
Trust your gut, if something doesn’t feels right, don’t do it or leave.
No shame there. You’ve got this!
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