Here are some ideas to arrange a play date with some safety tips in mind:
1. Have the first play date at your own home :Let the first one be in the comfort and supervision of your own home. This can help to get to know the other child’s parents and allow some conversation about your child and their allergies.The other family should know what your child’s allergies are, even if it is in your home. This will allow everyone to know and have open communication.
2.Pack your own snacks: When you are going to a friend’s or meeting others out, pack your own snacks. You are in control and can manage, pack and know with confidence that your child will eat what is safe. I suggest bringing enough for everyone that will be there, so that no one feels left out and it can eliminate the other kids being tempted to eat something that will be a problem. Most hosts will be happy you asked and it’s the perfect time to find out if their child has any food allergies.
3. Teach Your Child : As soon as your child is old enough to know what they are allergic to, let them use their voice to be sure they let others know. This will empower them as well.
4. Trust Yourself: Don’t be embarrassed to share with others what your child needs and what could happen if your child was exposed to the foods they are allergic too. Knowledge is power and we know our kids best. As special need parents, we know how to advocate and do it all the time. Allergies are just as important, and we can educate.
There are some good resources you can tap into for ideas as well. SnackSafely.com is full of information. There are tons of books for kids to read that will teach them the importance of safety and food allergies in a way they may grasp more easily. 2 we found are :
The Peanut Free Cafe & Aaron’s Awful Allergies.
I think that like most that we do with our kids, if we listen to our inner voice, trust our gut and speak up; our kids will The most important thing to remember is to trust yourself. If you feel comfortable going to someones home for a playdate then by all means go. If you are uncertain, trust your gut and offer to host the get-together. As parents, our child’s safety is always our first priority and other parents should have no trouble understanding that. Don’t be afraid, embarrassed or reluctant. The majority of parents will get it and if they don’t look at it as an opportunity to educate.