Tips for Teaching Your Children To Manage Their Own Food Allergies

I recently attended the Kids with Food Allergies Family Fun Event at the Whole Foods in North Wales, Pennsylvania and I was so impressed with how responsible the kids I met there were with managing their food allergies.

This made me think about how important it is to train your little ones to manage their food allergies and related conditions. As a parent, you will always play an important role, but once your child goes off to school and picks up extracurricular activities you won’t be with them all the time. Plus, although some food allergies are outgrown, others are life-long conditions. For these children managing food allergies will always be a part of their lives.

Teaching Toddlers and Young Children About Food Allergies

The skills and information you give your child about her food allergies will depend on her age. Start out with the basics; providing too much information too soon will confuse young children.

  • You have food allergies and some foods can make you sick.
  • Do not EAT, TOUCH or SMELL ANY food until it has been approved by mom or dad (or a designated family member or caregiver).
  • If you don’t feel well, or even just feel funny, let a grown up know right away.
  • When in doubt, spit it out! (From ‘How to Mange your Child’s Life-Threatending Food Allergies, Practical Tips for Everyday Life’ by Linda Cross)

The best way to get through to a toddler or young child is to communicate with them in their language and on their level. Teach them through activities they enjoy!

Teaching Older Kids and Teenagers about Food Allergies:

For those of you with older kids and teens, below are some resources that may be helpful for you as you continue to educate them on food allergy management.

How are you teaching your little ones about their food allergies? What tips or resources would you recommend for other parents?

Mallory West

Published: 09/23/2010
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