Helping children understand and live with their allergies

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Having a child with allergies, despite the severity of the condition, can be fairly difficult. Most children don’t initially understand why they get itchy or have other problems eating food when their classmates are perfectly fine. While it will take time for your child to fully understand his or her condition, there are many things that you can do to make life easier for your child.

Have a Talk
Your child needs to hear that certain foods are bad for him or her to start understanding what allergies are. You must also stress the point that your child is not weird for having allergies.

Children often thrive on being similar to their peers. Those that feel out of place or inferior tend to have problems with self-esteem now and later in life. Tell your child that many people have this condition, but it can be managed.

Food Safety Routine
Children tend to learn from routine. If you do something many times, then your child will often mimic the behavior until it becomes natural. You can use this to your advantage by creating a food safety routine. This involves three things.

The first thing is that your child has to learn to always read food labels before eating something. You can make a game out of it by giving him or her a snack or something special whenever your child remembers to do this without your prompting.

The second thing is to ensure that your child looks for certain ingredients. If your child is allergic to peanuts, then make sure that your child is looking for this and other similar ingredients. Reading the label is useless if your child doesn’t know what to look for.

Your child must also learn how to use and constantly carry his or her allergy medication. This ensures that your child is prepared if there is any accidental exposure to the allergen.

Role Play
This will help children understand how to react to certain situations. For example, your child might be offered cake or another food at a party that has one or more allergens. Role-playing will make your child more confident about declining the food, and it prepares your child for dealing with this scenario when it occurs.

You should also include situations like ordering at a restaurant, eating at school and any other common scenarios that your particular child might face. You should also help your child understand the necessary steps to using his or her allergy medication.

Substitute Foods
Children with allergies to gluten, milk and peanuts often lose out on many sweet foods that other children love. While your child may never be able to eat regular ice cream or cake, there are many dessert options and substitute foods that are being made for people with food allergies.

For example, there are certain types of bread that lack gluten and ice cream that is made with soy instead of milk. These usually don’t taste quite as good as their common variants, but you can still give them to your child so that he or she can have regular food items.

Understand Teens
Dealing with a teenager is much different than a younger child. Younger children will usually listen to you without really questioning your advice, but teens may try to show their independence by going against your wishes.

If your wishes involve avoiding allergies, then this might be a major problem. You should be more open with your older children and ask them what type of foods they want for parties and other events. It’s also a good idea to show your child that you trust his or her judgment.

Giving your child privacy and not going through the foods that he or she brings home will be very important. This should encourage your child to continue safe eating habits that won’t endanger his or her health.

Conclusion
It can often be difficult to make children understand that they can’t eat certain foods, but it can be done if you are patient and know what to do. If you follow the tips and strategies above, then you should reduce the likelihood of your child accidentally eating something that he or she is allergic to.

 

Guest Post Author Bio

Katelyn Roberts works with Trishia Laucklier who is a mental and physical nutristionist who is helping men and women alike gain confidence and pride with PureCalm: a natural anxiety remedy for children and adults from nativeremedies.com

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