Oh yay! Your child, your coeliac child has a playdate invitation. They are being treated normally, being included. Yay!
And then the dread & fear sets in…. or it always does for me.
Maybe your child has just started the school, joined the class, you don’t know the parents. But your child is excited & looking forward to going to play at their new friends house.
Maybe your child has just be diagnosed as having Coeliac Disease. And you have yet to explain to your friends, your child’s friends what they can and can’t have going forward.
You have to explain it all over again…. what they can and can’t have. You have to trust someone to not ‘gluten’ your child. But the smile on their face at being invited to a friends house has lit them up.
Well, you’re in the right place.
I’ve already negotiated those hurdles with my daughter who was diagnosed in 2018 with the disease. We’ve found the basics that you need to cover for a playdate, a sleepover and parties. At a best guess, you will receive at least 15+ party invitations in a year based on an average class of 30.
So how do you manage it all?
It’s exciting when your coeliac child has a playdate invitation.
First, they’ve been invited!! (Yay) In the second instance, meet the parent of the other child. Say hi, get the intros done. Then let them know that your child has Coeliac Disease & briefly let them know that they need special foods excluding gluten/wheat & that your happy to chat with them about your child’s needs to make it as easy as possible for them.
See, it’s easy! They don’t need to know straight off that it’s key to minimise all cross contamination. You can let them know gently.
My Top Tips
Inform the host parent gently of the requirements needed to keep your child safe. See what they are having, discuss foods, snacks and drinks so that you’ll know what to provide as suitable safe alternatives if you have to.
Give them a guideline on labels – what they are looking out for.
Suggest some suitable snacks – offer to supply ones for your child if that will help
Suggest that the children all have the same GF foods for tea & dessert so that will minimise any cross contamination issues, and at the same time keep them the same as everyone else. Fitting in is so important at a young age.
To make your life easier, I’ve put all of this information & more into an download covering Playdates, Parties, BBQs & Sleepovers with a two page handout to give to the host parent.
They’ve then a handy guide to refer to whilst your child is in their care so that they have some guidance as to what to do & how to manage keeping your child safe.
It shouldn’t be hard to let your child be normal, have friends over or go over to their friends houses. With this guide, both you and your host parent can manage it all together safely.
They’ll want to go to those parties, it can be done, armed with hand wipes, hand gel and back up snacks/lunch boxes. It’s how you manage their excitement, what they can & can’t have, and sometimes their utter disappointment in not joining in.
It’s not always easy, but it’s doable if you think outside of the box!