Celebrating special occasions can be tough on kids with Celiac Disease. In today's episode I am sharing some simple strategies for us as parents to make it easier on our kids when faced with Halloween, Christmas and Easter.
Previous Episodes Mentioned: Episode 17 - Empowering Your Child to Live with Celiac Disease
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Hi there. Welcome back to this week's show. I wanna set a massive shout out to Leslie and David from Macadoo Farms in Texas who contacted me on Instagram with their suggestion for this week's show. So, hi guys, and thank you so much for sending through your suggestion. So if you haven't listened to episode 17 on empowering your child to live with celiac disease, make sure when you finish this episode you go back and check that episode out cuz there's lots of great info in there to help your child as well. But on today's show, we are gonna talk about some of those situations that our children are put into as well as us as adults. It's not just for children, so, but things that our kids may face and how to help them deal with those situations. So things like Halloween and Christmas and Easter, those occasions where they're faced with things that are a little bit different for them because they have to eat gluten free . All right , so we had Halloween just recently and again, my son went trick or treating with his big sister and I think I talked about this as well last year. So he went trick or treating and last year <laugh> , when he went trick or treating , he asked everybody that gave him treats is this gluten free ? And if the people didn't know, then he would, he would say No thank you to the treats and wouldn't take them. Whereas this year I just said to him, look buddy, cuz he came home with a little pile of, of treats that everyone else had, you know, massive amounts. So I said to him this year, I said, look buddy, just say thank you when people offer you the candy, the lollies , just say thank you and take it and bring it home to mum and I will swap out for you what you can't eat. Because most of the lollies that I see when handed out for Halloween, like in the past when I've seen, I know what's gluten-free , I know what he can't have straight away . And if there's something that hasn't got any labeling on it, I just pull that out straight away . So it was easy for me to do that for him this year. So what I recommend is you have already a little stash for when your child gets back from their trick treating and you go through their little pile of candy or treats, whatever you wanna call it, and you pull out what isn't gluten free and you swap them for what you've got. Or you could make a bit of fun with it. So you could do a trading system where, you know, rather than having it all at once, each time they're allowed to have a treat, they , they give you one and you've gotta give them one back that's gluten free . So there's that idea, but that's about being organized and having that plan in place for when they come back from trigger treating or the following day or whatever so that they've got their options and they don't miss out. Now there are some people that I , I think this is mostly in America, but they have a sign or a specific colored pumpkin and it's to, so it's to show people that they have options for children that have allergies. So whether they've got a completely, you know, safe option that's not even lollies, it could be a little toy or some stickers or something like that that they , they can still take a a goodie but it's not going to be an issue because they've got celiac disease or they've got a , you know, a milk allergy or something like that and nut allergy, something along those lines. So you know, people are becoming more aware of what they're giving out as well. So that's really beautiful that people are looking after our kids that can't have gluten as well. So look out for those, those people that are doing that for our kids and, and make sure you show them all the gratitude in the world because of more people that do it, you know, the better it is for our kids. So I think that's really, really wonderful. All right , so this kind of ties into Christmas as well. So Christmas is a time where I see a lot of kids giving their friends treats at school. They tend to do their little Christmas cards and then they stick on a candy cane or they stick on a treat and they give it to each friend in their class. Mostly with the littler kids, my teenage daughter, they don't do it anymore. I've noticed in the last few years that's kind of died down a little bit. But with the younger kids it's such a thing to write out Christmas cards and give to all of their friends. So this could be the same situation where you need to teach your child that unless they know for sure that that treat that their friend has given them is gluten free to bring it home, wait till they get home from school and for you to be able to check. If you don't know, you might need to remove that one from them . And again, just give them a replacement. You might find that, you know, you might need to buy a packet of candy canes that you can see the ingredients and the ingredients are safe. And then you just do a little swaps just in case, just in case there might have been gluten in that candy and it's not safe for them. You don't wanna risk it. It's a , you know, it's a period of time that these , you know, over days it can be continuous that your kids constantly getting given candy canes or different treats. So you definitely don't want them to be getting exposed to gluten especially so close to Christmas when it's supposed to be a beautiful loving time where we get to enjoy ourselves. So having those options ready to go when they come home from school. Um, another thing is even throughout the year, it doesn't even have to be Christmas time . What I notice in um , the classroom is with little ones, when it's someone's birthday, the parents tend to send in treats for the whole class. So whether it be cupcakes or a bag of Frito frogs, which is a cabret chocolate here in Australia that's very popular among children. Um, or um, you know, different, different lollies, whatever, like just, it tends to be that the parents send it in for every student in the class and they all get to have one either there or bring it home. And what I've noticed this year with my son who has non celiac gluten sensitivity is he has brought those home with him to check cuz he wasn't sure and his teacher wasn't a hundred percent and she's all over it. She totally gets that he can't have gluten. And so she's really good with saying to him, Hey Reef , make sure you just take her home and check with mom when you get home or when she comes to school, pick up and just see if you can eat it then just so you don't get a sore tummy. And he's really fantastic with doing that. So that can be something as well that you can get your child to do. So just, just let 'em know they're not missing out, it's just we just need to wait a little minute just so that mom can check or dad can check the ingredients and know that it's safe for you. So that can help as well. Now Christmas time is a time where a lot of people give food gifts. I don't know if you've noticed this <laugh> , if your child's recently been diagnosed with celiac disease, you might not have really noticed before how many people actually give food for presents. But then once you are dealing with celiac disease and you're constantly reading labels, you might notice that a little bit more. So a big thing here in Australia over the years, even when I was a child, it was always just one of those easy gifts would be a stocking and their prepackaged stockings and their full of treats in them. So some of them are just candy, some of them are just chocolates. But again, it's one of those things that a lot of children get given, you know, it could be from the aunties or friends or neighbors and your child's got this entire stocking full of treats that they can't actually eat because it's not gluten-free. So it's so hard to be given something and not be able to enjoy that. So we need to again swap it out for our kids. So the same thing, having an option, having a , having something that you can swap out if you're not as organized, like, you know, we can't keep multiple things of everything just in case. But again, talking to our kids and explaining why it is that they can't have it and maybe suggesting, look, next time we go to the shops we can pick out something else instead. Okay, we can pass this on to someone else. So you could re-gift it, rehome it, give it to someone less fortunate than ourselves or you know, donate it to the food charities that hand them out to children at Christmas time . We could do it that way as well. But letting your child know that they're not gonna miss out will get something else instead. And again, you know, you can talk to the people that have gifted that item to your children and let them know or just show gratitude and, and deal with it afterwards. It's completely up to you. This is something I've talked about numerous times. It depends on your personality. Me, I don't know , sometimes I feel uncomfortable telling people things if they're not that close. Like if it was my mom , which would never happen cuz she's celiac as well, but if it was my mom for example, I'd be like, Hey mom , <laugh> you , you actually grab something that's not gluten free so you know, we'll , we'll just swap it if that's right . So we're not gonna open it now and I'd feel comfortable with that. But if it was just say a neighbor or you know, someone that wasn't quite as aware of the situation, I'd just, I'd just be grateful and say thank you and then, you know, deal with it afterwards. So again, whatever you feel comfortable with, there's no right or wrong with these types of things. But yeah, just letting your kids know that they're not missing out, I guess is a big one with that. And then we have Easter of course, same thing. There's so many treats, given chocolates, all of these different things. Again, you may need to swap out some of the chocolates. I have found that over recent years, my family haven't given as much Easter gifts, which I think is great. I'd rather the Easter is something that's within our household so we can control how much our children actually are given. So our Easter bunny is fantastic and he does a really great job of making sure that my children get safe options . So , um, when my daughter had cow milk protein intolerance, Easter Bunny was fantastic and always did a really great job making sure that she got dairy free chocolate. And obviously since Reef has been diagnosed with non celiac gluten sensitivity, Easter Bunny is brilliant at making sure that he brings gluten-free chocolate for reef. So yeah, let Easter Bunny know, make sure he knows that, you know, your kids have to have gluten-free chocolate so that when he visits your own household you don't have that issue of him bringing chocolate that your kid can't eat. So that's an easy way of controlling it within your household. But outside of that, it depends whether it's a big thing that your family give chocolates or candy or treats during that time. So it could be preempting them before you, you know, you're dealing with that situation just if , if it's something you know they're going to be doing. If it's something they've always done, you might wanna just send a quick message or a quick phone call and just let them know, Hey, you know, just a reminder, Billy is gluten free now. So if you still wanted to buy treats, please just make sure you look for gluten-free options. If you need help with how to read the label, just send me a photo warrior at the shops of the ingredients and I can check it for you away there and we'll go from there. So that can help as well. Okay, so making sure that the people that are buying it, they're getting a safe option. And of course Easter Bunny, so that can help as well. So I hope that helps you with helping your childSpeaker 2:
To deal with situations that come around every year and that we need to learn how to face. So I hope that gives you some strategies and some ideas to put into place. And if you need support in helping your child further, make sure you check out Ultimate Celiac system. You'll find a link to all the details over on my website, which is belinda willin.com . And then you can learn a little bit more about that program and how it can support your child. I've got lots of information in there to help your child. I've even got email templates that you can send to your child's school. I've got lists, I've got reminders, I've got so much packed in there that will make sure that your child thrives with celiac disease and will also help you as a parent to be able to support your child the best that you possibly can with them living with celiac disease moving forward. So thank you so much for tuning into today's show and as always, make sure you send me a DM over on Instagram at the Healthy Celiac if you've got any suggestions for what you'd like me to talk about in further episodes. So again, thanks for listening and I will talk with you very, very soon. Take care.