Feeling Left Out and Special at the Same Time
There are a lot of children around who are gluten intolerant. Many club members are members because of their children and they have told me lots of stories about the special things they do for the kids. I thought I would pass some of them on because they have made my friend’s lives easier. I figure you might be able to use some of them also.
It can be tough being a child and having a gluten intolerance. When we are adults, we are capable of seeing the effect our habits can have on our health. But little kids don’t have that perspective. All they know is that they can’t eat birthday cake like all the other kids. But they just have to learn for their own good. You and I know there are a lot worse diseases!
Children can feel left out even though you try to convince them they just have to eat “special” foods. But you can try a few of these things and see if the help the situation.
At birthday parties, have the mother in charge give your child the biggest gluten free candy bar, like a Three Musketeers, when it is time for the other kids to eat cake and ice cream. You can even take gluten free ice cream over early. A giant candy bar and ice cream will look very special and probably make the other kids jealous. After all, most people eat cake all the time. Also, this trick will not put your child on the defensive in terms of comparing a gluten free cake to regular cake.
When you go out to eat, pick restaurants that will honor your gluten free requests without making a big deal out of it. No one, including children, like being made to feel “different”.
I have a friend with a 4-year old child who is gluten intolerant. Last Halloween she snuck to the neighborhood houses before nightfall and left gluten free candy and snacks to be given to her daughter. It was a lot of trouble she said, but worth every minute. When her daughter opened her bag to get candy with the others, she got some too!
Another lady in the club said she has her son’s friends over periodically for after school treats. Everyone eats the gluten free snacks she makes. The best way to get anyone’s cooperation is to make him or her feel like a participant. She said she actually heard one of his friends bragging he ate gluten free food as if it was a rare and exotic food and everyone should be jealous. Kids never cease to amaze!
Another great tip is to let your son or daughter help make new gluten free foods. This turns the special diet into a fun project. It also teaches about doing what needs to be done to take care of yourself.
I have heard a lot more ideas and they all sound great. to me. You should try some of them and then let me know if they work for you. With all the adjustment I had to go through when I learned I have gluten intolerance, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the little ones. But they don’t need sympathy. In fact, one mom said that’s the worst thing you can do. She claims they just need to be taught coping skills.
Here are some fun and delicious treats you can make with the kids: