Mum! Dad! - look I have been invited to Tommy's birthday party. You are excited, but you know that it can also be a very difficult time for children with dietary needs as normally there are plenty of lollies, chocolates and cakes – all the fun food that we do not get at home.
When your child is invited to a birthday party, it is suggested that contact be made with the parents hosting the party and explain your child's dietary needs. Hopefully they will be aware of the need to provide some gluten free food but remember they are also thinking of all the other things – like rides, party bags, birthday cake. Ask the parents what type of food they will be having at the party. They may say that they will be having a special table for your child that contains only gluten free food or offer to take along some gluten free food for your child to eat. Some parents will be very accommodating but others will be far too busy to realise the importance. Be prepared so your child does not feel left out or different to the other children.
Stickers can be purchased that your child can wear that says “I'm allergic to gluten”. These are colorful and will identify your child to other parents to ensure that they do not eat any non-gluten free food. Why not make your own stickers/tags out of colored cardboard and attach with a pin.
The following is a message for one parent who has four children who are living with celiac disease, but the parents themselves are not celiacs.
As for kids parties, I normally take my own food with me. Not many people will cater gluten free but I must add that recently we were invited to a friends child's birthday party and she made the whole thing gluten free. I was amazed and warmed by her effort she put into it. When they do the cake I make sure I have some chocolate or home made cake so they don't miss out. I make sure I pack similar food that there will be at the party. The good thing is though I can control what my children eat on a health basis better this way as they are not at the table filling their mouth with lollies etc.
It is also very important for your child to be aware that they are only to eat gluten free food. This is not going to be easy, especially if you have very small children, but with all things that children learn, it is just patience and repetition. Mistakes will be made but the important thing is your child learns from these mistakes and they are not repeated.
A good rule to establish with your child is in regards to party bags given when they leave the party. The contents of these bags will vary from party to party and not all contents will be guaranteed to be gluten free. Always get your child to wait until they get home and have the chance to check to ensure everything is gluten free and safe to eat. Always have a few gluten free goodies at home you can substitute if needed. That way, your child will not feel resentful for having to give up items from his/her party bag.