With a new year of kinder and school underway, the children are settling into their new classes, reconnecting with friends and making new friends too. As they bond, children often ask if their friend can come over for a play. If this friend has allergies, this can be daunting.
So, you have a child with allergies or intolerances coming to your place to play………….what do you do? DON’T panic!
This post gives you tips for a play date at which the child’s parent is in attendance. An upcoming post will look at a play date at which the parent does not stay and will look at what you will need to check before the parent leaves, such as medications and when and how to administer them in the event of an emergency.
If you have a child with allergies/intolerances, share this post with all your non-allergy friends/kinder/school group – it will help open the lines of communication and provide them with some tips to hosting a play date with your child. Most people are scared of managing allergies if they haven’t been exposed to them before, but most will be willing to learn.
Tip 1: Ask the parent to stay.
Tell the parent you would like for them to stay for the first play date so that you can get to know them and understand their child’s allergies/intolerances better. Whilst the parent is there, you can ask questions about the child’s allergies and how to manage them. This play date is about you learning more so that you can have a play date without the parent present, and it also allows the parent to see that you are willing to learn so you can accommodate their child’s eating requirements, giving them comfort to leave the child with you for a play date in the future.
Tip 2: Talk to the parent in advance of the play date about what allergies/intolerances the child has and what they can and cannot eat.
Start with a play date that will only need you to provide some snacks rather than a meal. You can even ask the parent to bring a plate to share that way you will know it is safe for their child to eat, and you can get some ideas for next time.
Tip 3: Ensure your food preparation area, crockery and utensils are clean.
If you are going to prepare some snacks for the children, you need to ensure your food preparation area and serving plates and cutlery is appropriately cleaned before you start. It can’t hurt to give play area and toys a once over too, especially if you have younger children that like to chew on toys. The attached website has some great tips on cleaning to prevent contamination:
Tip 4: Keep the menu simple.
Fruit skewers are a great option that kids love – there is just something about food on a skewer that kids love.
Vegetable sticks with dip – ask the parent in advance what brand and flavour dip the child can eat. Don’t feel bad for asking, it shows that you care. The parent will be grateful and more than happy to advise. If you haven’t had a chance to ask in advance, check the labels careful before purchasing and keep the product sealed and have it checked by the parent before you open it.
For a more hearty snack Loni’s Allergy Free Chicken Nuggets are a great option – kids love them and my recipe is easy to prepare using only a few ingredients that you can buy at the supermarket. Even better, you can make these in advance and freeze them, so that all you need to do is pop them in the oven when your guests arrive. Making them in advance means you can check the ingredients you are planning to use with the child’s family to ensure they are suitable.
Recipes for fruit skewers, dips and chicken nuggets are all available in my cookbook Loni’s Allergy Free (RRP $39.95) along with other great everyday recipes – click here to purchase.
Tip 5: Enjoy the play date and catch up with the parent.