Today’s tips are about preparing for a new year at daycare. Since I myself am new to this, this post is also a way for me to organize my thoughts as we prepare for TJ going back to daycare in a couple weeks. While I have learned that life often doesn’t go according to how we plan it, I believe it is very important to be prepared with a plan of action whenever you can. When dealing with food allergies and eczema, I am learning it is all about educating others while also staying educated yourself. Preparing others while also being prepared, and trying to stay cautiously optimistic.
Here is our preparation/education process (still in the works).
- MEETING: Set up a meeting to discuss TJ and his food allergies/eczema with the coordinators to discuss all of the following.
- FOOD ALLERGY & ANAPHYLAXIS EMERGENCY CARE PLAN: Make sure to have an updated emergency plan. Since TJ’s plan was first written in December/January when he was 8 months, it was extremely important to have this updated. We will bring a couple copies of this so that they can have it in the office and more importantly, in his classroom.
- SPEAK WITH ALLERGIST/PEDIATRICIAN/DOCTORS: We spoke with all of TJ’s doctors and received their input and recommendations regarding everything including mealtimes, procedures, cross contamination, and even play time.
- LETTERS: Since TJ is highly allergic to several common foods, it is very important for TJ’s best safety that he is closely monitored especially during mealtimes. We also have to make sure that meals and snacks are only eaten during certain times and designated places. Our doctors all stated this. Therefore, we had two doctors write letters to try to get him a one-to-one assistant/teacher during mealtimes. The person handling TJ’s food needs to wash their hands before preparation and should not be handling others’ food. It sounds demanding but it is necessary.
- A PLAN FOR MEALTIMES: His classroom is a tree nut and peanut free classroom. However, TJ must only eat what we send in with him. In addition to this, whoever is handling his food or him needs to be extra conscious about washing their hands beforehand. We will also ask if we can bring our own high chair for TJ’s use only.
- ACTIVITIES: Remind the school to check with us before TJ participates in certain activities such as playing with Play Dough and paints. Some of these art supplies contain ingredients that he is allergic to like wheat. We will plan to provide alternate supplies.
- BRING PROPER MEDICATIONS/LOTIONS: We will bring Benadryl and an extra set of Auvi-Q injectors, explaining that they must be stored near him in his classroom, instead of the main office. When someone is allergic to bees, they bring their Epi-Pen with them outside in case they are stung. Therefore, TJ’s should be nearby when he is eating. With lotions, sunscreen, and even cleaning supplies, there are only certain types that he can use due to his dermagraphism and eczema.
- EXCELLENT LINK SENT BY OUR ALLERGIST TO GUIDE US: MANAGING FOOD ALLERGIES IN THE SCHOOL SETTING – GUIDANCE FOR PARENTS
- SMILES/POSITIVE ATTITUDE: I am not sure how this meeting or school year will go, and I am sure that I will learn more throughout it all. However, this is how we will approach Friday’s meeting, prepared with a plan of how to ensure TJ’s absolute safety. Like TJ, we will be wearing our smiles, praying and having faith that it WILL be the start of a great new school year.