February 2, 2018

BE MINE {Allergy Friendly} Valentine

As a mom of a toddler, each holiday is a new kind of exciting. Experiencing the special activities and decoration through my son's eyes is hands down one of the best things in life. But a mom of a toddler with food allergies, there are other emotions that come along with each holiday.
Fear. Hesitation. Deep breaths. Trusting those in charge.

There's also an added layer of planning required to make sure my little guy has the typical toddler holiday experience and doesn't feel left out at parties.

And every holiday is associated with particular foods. We are really good at that - making holidays a lot about food. So with Valentine's Day in just a couple weeks (seriously, where did January go?!), here are some things to consider. 
  1. Provide Non-Food Treats for Your Valentine: There are so many creative ideas for non-candy valentines. Stickers, pencils, coloring books, bouncy balls, craft kits, off the top of my head. If you look in the holiday section at big box stores like Target and Walmart, you will see several inexpensive options. Check out these not-so-sweet treat ideas that are super cute. 
  2. Ask the Teacher: Teachers know everything, right? You better believe they know which of their students have allergies. Our son's Pre-K2 teachers are so accommodating and know all about what he can and can't have. You can plan around the known allergens in the class!
  3. Choose Candy Free of Top 8 Food Allergens: If your child is set on sharing candy, you can either have options or only choose one free of the top food allergens. The most common food allergies are dairy, egg, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, though, allergic reactions can be caused by virtually any food. These foods are often referred to as The Top 8 or The Big 8 because they are the cause of 90% of all food allergic reactions. 
  4. Be a PAL-entine: Protect A Life (PAL) From Food Allergies is an education program that can help children learn to be a good friend to other children with food allergies. This year, they created a Be a PAL-entine kit that you can order here. It includes stickers, a poster to display, pencils, cute Valentine's Day cards. Love these!
  5. Check the Label: A child with food allergies may receive food he/she can't have. If you are unsure, tell the child in a caring way that these sweets can't be eaten until a trusted adult checks the label and says it is ok.
Hopefully, this helps you with preparing for a safe and inclusive Valentine's Day for all our little ones to enjoy! I am always so grateful when someone goes out of their way to accommodate my little guy. I know other food allergy moms will be just as grateful too!


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