It's that time of year again. Having a child that is gluten free is hard enough, for both of you. School adds a whole new list of worries. What are you going to pack them every morning? What happens if someone wants to share? Is there a risk of contamination at the lunch table? What about class treats, birthdays, pizza parties, popcorn parties and all the other food related issues? Last but not least...does your child eat glue? It has gluten in it too. While my kidlins are home schooled, my godson is in this exact predicament (and yes he does like to eat glue...among other NASTY things).
Here are a few tips that his wonderful mom and I have come up with.
1. Practice at home. It's easy for him since he has 5 siblings that do not have the gluten intolerance. He has had to live his life not setting anything he eats on the table for fear of a crumb and not eating ANYTHING that anyone else has. He knows how he feels and questions everything given to him. (This is a very proud aunt over here)
2. Make his or her lunches interesting. Rice Cake Tuna Melts are a good start at interesting but all the other kids are going to have snack cakes, fruit snacks and candy. Make sure you are putting something that is fun in there. One thing that he and Genius both adore is when we put Go-gurts (yay for major brands being GF) in the freezer overnight then pack them. They are still cold by lunchtime and it's something that all the other kids probably have too.
3. Talk to the teacher. I cannot emphasize this enough. She (or he) can tell you when there are special things coming up so you can send something. She can keep GF snacks that you have provided on hand. I sent microwave popcorn that was GF with Genius to Girl Scout camp for popcorn parties. The godson's mom has done the same thing with his teacher.
4. Understand, and help your child understand, that no matter how hard you try there may be times that he or she gets left out. It's okay.
5. It doesn't need to be said but I will anyway. Teach them NOT to put glue, markers, paint and other school supplies in their mouth. It's good practice for any kid but make sure they know it will hurt them.