Hunter is entering his 3rd year of school!?! I cannot believe that he is a first grader starting tomorrow. The last 2 years have been a great learning experience that is for sure; however, as he enters school this year, I am more confident in it! I have compiled some of my favorite things that make our life easier including our gluten free play dough, all kinds of recipes, and dealing with teachers & school administration.
Hunter dealt with a bully last year that I spent the whole year contacting teacher and administration about. I am talking ripping art work, scratching, knocking down, etc… I don’t think that kind of behavior is acceptable in any way. While I never really got a resolution, I explained if not for any other reason that another child placing a potentially gluten hand should not be tolerated. At the point, where the vice principal questions the validity of my statement, I realized education on food allergies, restrictions, etc… need more emphasis for administration to be sensitive to the situation of each and every student. Our school has had several anaphylaxis incidents that have luckily not resulted in deaths, but once again indicate their lack of effect and sympathy that needs to be put into these kinds of special cases. We do not have an official 504 plan yet. However, obtaining a 504 plan is on my list of continued goals for a successful school future.
Rule #1: Establish good communication with the teacher
Odds are likely that the teacher has limited knowledge about gluten free so help educate them! The last 6 years has supplied me with a lot of information about Celiac Disease, gluten free, and keeping Hunter healthy. At the beginning of the year, I send a letter explaining Hunter and what to expect, list of gluten free snacks, and most importantly telling them I am an open book about anything and everything that they need to know about gluten free! Teachers are crunched for time and resources so I don’t expect them to spend extra time outside of school learning and shopping for gluten free. An easy way I have found to help is by providing supplies such as gluten free play dough.
Lunch Time: There aren’t a whole lot of gluten free lunch options that don’t require work. Occasionally, we will get a gluten free nacho lunchable or GoPicnic yet these are not every day solutions for us since I like to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Hunter has developed a distaste for certain foods and textures. It has been frustrating because his eagerness to try anything was what made gluten free so easy! It’s an obstacle that we are working to overcome without him starving. Make it fun like we did with this Naturally Gluten Free Bento Box with Great Day Farms here!
Snack Time: We have a love-hate relationship with snack time. In our plan for Hunter, we provide the snack everyday. I try to make it fun so he doesn’t feel left out! The funny thing is he often doesn’t even notice what everyone else has or cares for that matter.
Here are our tips for survival of snack time:
1. Make healthy fun
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are an easy snack. Hunter loves cuties, celery, and olives are a few of his favorites.
- trail mixes and chex mixes work well for snack time. There are so many different kinds you can make that Hunter is never bored with them!
- Other favorites: Pirates Booty and Angie’s Kettle Corn. *Around Halloween (or marked down afterwards) there are always the perfect snack size bags of the treats listed above.
2. Make Snacks for the class for special events and even for themes
Usually around fall, kids always study apples so these apple cupcakes have become a yearly staple
and below another fun treat we have prepared was the leap frog rice krispies treat for Leap Day
3. Supply a treat box for unexpected events: Parents can be so well-meaning with the surprise donuts, cupcakes, cookies, etc.. for the class. However, that stinks for the kids with food allergy who gets left out! (see below in it’s complicated for my solution when it can’t be avoided)
4. It’s Complicated!
- Trust me there are going to be days completely out of your control where your child is going to be disappointed. It’s not fair was Hunter’s favorite phase last year (see number 2 above). Validate your child’s feeling then help them move on! For example, say we arrive at school to find out someone has brought donuts for the whole class. What are we to do with no notice? I don’t have time to whip up donuts or go get them right now! In these situations, I make a plan with Hunter that we can make something together after school. Making a plan helps take the sting away from his isolation. One of our favorites is donuts (strawberry donut recipe here and chocolate here)
- The next issue is that say he has been contaminated and he has an accident at school. Nothing is more embarrassing then a bathroom accident when you are well past potty-training years. Always keep backup clothes at the school to eliminate further embarrassment of school-provided clothes or waiting for someone to bring something up. Consider providing a fun alternative to baby wipes such as the R2D2 we created here. Talk to your child about how this is a symptom of Celiac Disease and remind them this is one of the reasons we work so hard to keep them 100% gluten free. This has only happened once, but it was enough to make Hunter question everything that comes near him!
Deal with Food Allergies or Restrictions? What are some of your tips for keeping your sanity during the school year?
Please note: This post is not compensated. However, there are links and pictures that may be linked to a sponsored post.