Attending children’s parties is super fun for kids but can be stressful for allergy parents. Here are my top tips for managing party stress when you have a child with food allergies:
1. COMMUNICATE – It’s really important to advise the host of the party that your child has food allergies and to what foods. If people are unaware of your needs they are not in a position to accommodate. Be clear and clarify any questions they may have.
2. COMPROMISE – it’s unlikely that the entire party is going to be allergen free but you could discuss with the host about making one of the foods allergen free. Or, offer to bring something that you have made at home for everyone to share.
3. REMIND – it is always a good idea to remind the host at least a week out from the party about your child’s food allergies. We all know that planning for parties takes time so a reminder will enable the host to make the adjustments or accommodations that you discussed earlier.
4. ATTEND – coping by ‘avoiding’ events is not healthy for yourself or for your child in the long term. Your host has made an effort to accommodate so it’s important that you match the effort by attending.
5. CELEBRATE – if you were even mildly worried or stressed about attending the party it’s really important to acknowledge your attendance as a success in your allergy management. Thank the host at the party or later, after the event, for their efforts. And, importantly, talk positively around your child or directly to your child (depending on the age), that it was a great party and how well everyone managed. This will set the tone for positive party experiences in the future and building resilience in your family, that you CAN cope.