The other day I received a text message from my daycare provider telling me that my daughter had thrust her tiny hand into the birthday cake of another child before they had even had a chance to put the candles on the cake or sing happy birthday.
But before I cried from embarrassment I was struck with the frightening realization that my child didn’t stop to think about her allergy first. She didn’t ask what was in the cake and she didn’t question whether there could be peanuts.
She just threw caution to the wind and licked up the frosting.
There are so many articles and posts cautioning parents and teachers to watch what children bring into classrooms and daycares, to wash tables, and to ensure children aren’t cross contaminating but how well are we educating our children?
I thought I was.
Turns out I have a bigger job on my hands.
Education certainly begins at home and we are now starting by asking the simple questions and having her answer back such as:
“What do you do if a classmate asks to trade lunches?”
“What do you say if you are offered a cookie and you aren’t sure what’s in it?”
“Should you help yourself if you are hungry and aren’t sure of the food?”
Such simple questions but so important to a child with allergies.
We are starting with our daughter and making her accountable for her own health because when it comes down to it she is the one who will be encountering the challenges at school, in the play yard, and at birthday parties.
We will be taking this opportunity to remind her to wash her hands frequently, to ask questions about food, to share information about her allergy and not be ashamed, and to proudly display her allergy bracelet. We will be encouraging her to speak up when she is asked to attend a birthday party and ask if there will be nuts at the event, and ensure her safety.
It’s our jobs as parents to give her the tools necessary to become a well spoken advocate who is able to keep herself safe.
It’s our jobs to educate others.
But first, we need to educate her.Pin It