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Teaching Kids About Their Allergies

Dangerous childhood allergies can be a parent’s worst nightmare. On one hand, you want your child to grow up carefree in a world where they are free to explore. On the other hand, it is your responsibility to keep them safe from food products and other materials that seem perfectly harmless to everyone else while posing a lethal threat to your child. As a parent, it can feel like you’re constantly stuck between a rock and a hard place. Let’s look at how to go about teaching kids about their allergies.

Teaching Kids About Their Allergies

Fortunately, repeated, age-appropriate conversations with your child about their allergies can give you some peace of mind. It may not come all at once, but between you and your child’s asthma doctor in NYC, you can help your child to understand what is at stake without scaring them too much. These are some relatively easy techniques that you can use to help make these conversations as effective as possible.

Use Age-Appropriate Language

As smart as toddlers are, they are unlikely to understand an adult conversation about their allergies. You definitely want to upgrade their knowledge as they age, but start with simple words they know. Talk to them about “unsafe foods” and teach them how to recognize products that commonly contain those foods.

Teach Them to Only Accept Food from Designated People

When they go to preschool or a friend’s house you want to know that your child is safe. At one point or another, there will be a well-meaning person who offers your child a food they’re allergic to. To prevent this eventuality from leading to tragedy, it is really important to teach your child who they can accept food from. When they’re really young this circle should be very small for simplicity.

Talk to Them About Their Symptoms

A serious allergic reaction can be terrifying even for an adult, so it’s important that your child can recognize a reaction and knows to ask for help. Many child allergies are discovered at an age before they start forming permanent memories, so they may not even remember what an allergic reaction feels like. Describe symptoms in clear terms and avoid instigating a fear response. Your child should know that if they start to feel itchy or breathing feels harder than normal that they need to go find a responsible adult right away.

Include Them on a Daily Basis

Children want to be involved in everything. And that gives you the perfect opportunity to model the appropriate management of their allergies. Describe what you’re doing out loud. Also, use “we” statements to verbally include them as you check labels, prepare safe food, or pack their epi-pen. Including them every day will make your child far more likely to remember what isn’t safe for them to eat. It also helps them learn the medication they need.

Make It a Game

When your child is old enough to read, enlist their help in actively finding safe foods. You can challenge them to find unsafe food when you’re out at the grocery store or play a version of “I Spy” focused on foods they cannot eat. This will boost their visual recognition of unsafe products while mixing up the way you talk to your child about their allergies.

One Step at a Time

Serious childhood allergies can be scary and challenging at the same time. Luckily, there is an allergy treatment for kids in NYC that can help to reduce dangerous reactions. In the meantime, use your child’s asthma doctor and allergist for support to create the most successful environment for your child to learn about their allergies.

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