The card says: “Your son/daughter is invited to a birthday party!” Can you hear the audible gasps of the food allergy moms?
We can, too. Birthday parties may be a favorite kids’ tradition, but when your child has food allergies, they are a big challenge to navigate. Fortunately, in this installment of Allergic Living’s video series “Megan’s Minute,” allergy mom Megan Lavin helps to ease the party experience with incredibly helpful advice.
Megan has two sons with food allergies and her older son, in particular, has attended many parties. In the video, the blogger known for AllergyAwesomeness.com, covers:
1. Birthday Parties at a Young Age:
• As the parent of a younger child, Megan would always go along to the birthday party. She notes that this allows you to keep an eye on kids, and potential exposures to allergenic foods.
• Your child’s not going to be able to eat the birthday child’s cake. So Megan explains how she handles a nice cupcake alternative – without turning that into a constant baking ritual as numerous parties arise.
2. School-age Children & Parties:
• Megan addresses critical communication with the parent hosts on: precautions, where emergency meds (epinephrine and inhaler) are located and how/when to use.
• Being vocal with close family, friends in party situations, to help educate them on allergy needs.
3. Supporting, Dealing with Hurt Feelings:
• Megan shares that activity parties are the most fun for older kids with food allergies. Obvious reason: food isn’t the main attraction!
• Learn how she deals with peer pressure feelings, and when an older child feels awkward about pulling out safe food at a party.
• Debriefing: She advises getting the low-down after the party. She uses validation and praises with a child about following food rules and staying safe. She empathizes if missing out on an amazing dessert wasn’t easy. She doesn’t downplay or say “it’s not a big deal.” But she also makes sure to ask about the good stuff.
4. Taking a Pass on a Party:
• Sometimes a child just doesn’t want to attend another pizza party (where they can’t eat the pizza). Megan covers: reaching the point of letting an older child make that decision, and helping the child figure out if that’s the right decision.
5. Showing Party Pride:
• Megan speaks about how proud she is of both her boys who have never once caved to the temptation to eat a delicious-looking birthday goodie. As she notes: “Talk about resolve. Talk about maturity. Talk about responsibility. This level of self-control they have is beyond their years and will be a blessing for other areas of their lives.”
We hope Megan’s video helps you and your allergic child with managing birthday parties. She knows while they can be a lot to manage, very often they are still a great experience with good friends.
Megan’s Minute Series
Join Allergic Living monthly for a new installment of Megan’s Minute with Megan Lavin, the creator of the Allergy Awesomeness blog, which features great Top-8 free recipes and articles. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
More videos from Megan Lavin:
Married with Food Allergies: Relationship video
How to Hire a Babysitter
Creating a School 504 Plan
Soccer, Snacks and Allergy Safety
View the full video series on the Allergic Living YouTube Channel here.