Teaching kids about their food allergies can be tough for many reasons. Trying to teach your child of the severity of a food allergy without making them afraid of the world can prove to be a challenge. There is no parenting handbook for anyone. Every child is different and may learn things in different ways. The way we taught our son, and are still teaching him, of his allergies was quite simple. Because I became lactose intolerant while pregnant with him, I no longer use milk in my every day foods. So, in our family the only one to eat "cow's cheese" and drink "cow's milk as my son calls them, is my husband. That is how my children have been raised. All that they have known is soy milk, soy cheese, soy ice cream etc. So, in our house the odd man out is actually my husband. My son learned that cow's milk, peanuts, tree nuts and eggs are yucky but daddy eats them. Then it moved onto that these things make him sick. Now that he understands allergies, he knows that these items will cause allergies. First, he had to experience allergies, even that of animals so that he knows how miserable it makes him. We didn't purposely go looking for an opportunity to give him an allergy. I knew that at some point he would experience some form of allergies and that was when I would tell him what was going on. Now, he is very aware of what will happen if he eats something he is allergic to.
The other day we went to the store to pick up some cheese for my husbands grilled cheese. We already had soy cheese at home. At check out my son starts talking to the cashier. He tells her that cow cheese is daddy's favorite. She thought it was cute and funny that he called it cow cheese. She asks him if he likes cheese and he says I like SOY cheese. She says "Okay I get it now" He says "Yea, I have food allergies" He now announces that to everyone. Any time anyone asks him a question or even talks to me he announces his name and that he has food allergies. The other day we were walking in the grocery store and a nice gentleman tells me about how great the ground beef deal was. My son interjects with his name and that he has food allergies. I can't help but think it is a little funny and I am just happy that he tells people up front about his food allergies. I feel that it really is a great thing to do.
If anyone has had experience with this and has taught a child of their food allergies I would love to hear from you!