It’s time to start planning and enlist your AllerTribe to help keep your allergic child safe this holiday season. Whether you are traveling to see friends and family or are hosting people at your home, you will find people who don’t understand your rules or flat out ignore them and it is up to you to take charge to keep yourself or your child safe.
No is a complete sentence. Set your boundaries early, let people know that your rules are in place for the health and safety of you and/or your child. Be clear, kind, and firm.
Family dynamics can heat up around the holidays; it can add pressure to say yes or make exceptions to your safety rules. Depending on the age and maturity of your food allergic child, they can participate in their safety. Work with them at an appropriate age level to speak up about their allergies and let them know they can always ask you or a trusted family member if they are ever unsure if something is not safe. Drive that point home; there is never a time when asking about your safety is wrong. Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector and use it immediately at the first signs or symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.
Here are a few ways to help your family prepare to keep your baby or young child safe:
- Explain that while you are so excited to come to Grandma’s this year. For everyone to enjoy the day safely, we can not put the appetizers out around the house. Suggest an alternative placement.
- In many cultures, sharing foods is a way of showing love; be clear and firm that no one is to feed your child anything that you have not made for them.
- We all love your famous [pie, lasagna, cake, stuffing]; however, it would cause my child to have a life-threatening allergic reaction if they ate it. Please help us keep them safe by letting us feed them.
For older children, you will already have a system in place, but the holidays are an excellent time to remind everyone of your safety plan.
Here are a few ways to help your older children show some independence and begin to take responsibility for their health and well being.
This is a good time to review information about reading labels
- Help them to enlist a buddy; this can be a cousin, sibling, or friend who already knows all about their allergy and can act as a buffer to those who don’t; they can assist in heading off questions or even plates of food. (You should, of course, enlist everyone, but it’s nice to have a friend too)
- Remind them to get you or another trusted adult immediately if they don’t feel well.
- It’s perfectly acceptable to say no. Prepare them for relatives that may not understand allergies and that no, thank you is a complete sentence.
If you are newly diagnosed, this holiday may be the first time you are seeing extended family and friends. These new rules may seem foreign to them and the conversation may be awkward but you are only trying to protect your child. This is something they should understand.
Have fun, be safe, and take charge to keep yourself or your child safe.
I created the Food Allergy Institute to provide the unique support you need. Whether you’re seeking information on how to be your child’s best advocate, or you’re in search of ways to manage your own anxiety- I’ve developed the tools and resources, so you don’t have to go at this alone.
Contact us today for your FREE consultation, and let’s get through this together.