Gluten Free Children - How to best support them!
If your child has coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, it can seem difficult to know the best move forward - after all, it’s a big thing to explain to a child why they can’t always have things that others can. Due to the hereditary nature of coeliac disease, chances are that if they’ve got it, so does someone else in your family. Hopefully that experience can help you formulate some specific structures to keep your child happy while also healthy. We’ve also got a few ideas to help you help them.
The first step in supporting gluten free children is honest communication. They to know and understand the situation, it’s seriousness and how to deal with it - so that they can make appropriate decisions, even when you aren’t around. Structure this communication to your child’s interests. For example, you could approach it from a scientific angle, a story angle, or relate it to someone else in the family they already know. This way, it might not sound too daunting and scary for them.
Keep some handy snacks around and familiarise your children with food they can eat. If you stick to brands they enjoy, it makes it easier for them to recognize which foods are safe, even in other environments like school. In such environments, always communicate with the appropriate people that your child is gluten-free, so they can keep on top of things for your peace of mind. Even pack these snacks, so your child always has some handy.
Educate and research! There’s so much information out there, including recipes, tips, support groups and general information for you and your child to get familiar with. Encourage them to learn about and consider their diet and all of its implications. This can give them more ownership of their own choices and give them greater power in their decision making and daily routines.