P/TN Free Preschool & Training for the Real World

Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 2:56am
BBCBMom's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

My sons (3 1/2 yrs and 19 months) go to a TN/P free daycare. I have talked and worked with the cook and he is up to date on all the labeling and good mfgs.

My question is regarding my 3 1/2 year old. I have always sent snacks to school with him since he started there since I wanted him to eat fruit at each of his snack times (am/pm and 4pm) plus I preferred the whole wheat organic crackers vs. the ones that school provided.

Now that he has been diagnosed with a Peanut allergy and avoiding all nuts I don't really know what to do to train him for the really world and Kindergarten when he can not trust anyone giving him food except for his Mom.

I have told him he can eat breakfast and lunch at school but he needs to eat his snacks out of his lunch box except if they serve fresh fruit and veggies. However they do serve yogurt, cheese, apple sauce and fruit smoothies during some of the snacks.
He knows he is at a P/TN free school and he is questioning why he can't eat these things also. I don't want to send mixed messages to him and his teachers but I also want to train him to say no thank you to any food that is offered to him and to only eat what I now that is safe.

Where do I draw the line here? There are three other kids in his class with P/TN allergies. One brings all his own food since his family only eats organic. The other two that I can see eat all their food from school. Should I wait until he transitions to his Pre-K class room this fall to start a new? My gut says to start now.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations. I am at my wits end on how to address this situation to make sure my son is safe and he is prepared for the future and that I don't confuse him.

Also, my 19 month old doesn't get it that he has a PA but any suggestions on how to deal with him in school would also be appreciated. He also takes his snacks to school but his teachers are a little more understanding and easier to work with then the head teacher in my 3

Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:17am
Sarahb's picture
Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

I wish I could help. I am facing similair issues....do we train them not to take anything ever....even in your case when you know that they have really high standards? I'll be watching your thread for advice too!

Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:35am
Momcat's picture
Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

Our approach has been to make the rule that the kids can only eat food that mommy or daddy has [b] checked [/b].
So you can personally check the school's food (I recommend doing this anyway) and then tell your kids that it's ok to eat X at school because mommy checked the label.
Use the same system with both your kids to avoid any trouble/misunderstandings.
Mom to 7 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 4 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 3:44am
chanda4's picture
Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

Okay, I have a 3 1/2yr old....and by no means would I feel comfortable with him deciding, at this point, about the foods he can and can't have. I think this needs to be totally on you at this age. My son isn't in preschool yet, and when he does go next year(to the same school his big brother went to) *I* will be providing his snack(they don't serve lunch there, it's just a 2 1/2 hour program....which I like...for this exact reason).
When they are thi syoung, they can start to understand what they are allergic too, my son can say he's allergic to milk, but there is no way he understands it. He can say it, he can't think it. If I offered him a milk shake right now, he'd take it.....I have to be the food police in every situation. Now my 6yr old, he is starting to understand. Just this summer he started remembering to ask me before he took a snack from a friend. And I pound it into his head...NEVER EAT ANYTHING WIHTOUT ASKING MOMMY FIRST.
So my advice to you would be, sit his teachers down and explain he is to *only* eat the foods you bring, period. If you make exceptions for smoothies or fruit, then he isn't going to understand he only eats the food you give. Just my opinion.
My 6yr old isn't allowe dot eat anythign at school, period, anything. If he wants to eat a snack someone brought, the teacher puts the package(it's still wrapped) in a ziplock and send it home, then when he gets home I read the ingredients and tell him yes or no. Good luck, this is hard, very hard!!
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 4:02am
camiac's picture
Joined: 01/24/2007 - 09:00

Just to add onto what others have already said, you don't want to confuse your kids AND you don't want to confuse the teachers. If you tell your kids they can have fruit at school, next thing you know the teacher is explaining "but I thought it was ok because it was a fruit BAR!" If they see you have a firm rule, then neither your child nor the teacher will start to "interpret" the rule.
It is different when they get older.

Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 4:49am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I agree-- my daughter is going to be 8 this year, and it will [i]soon[/i] be time for her to begin assessing food safety.
In other words, we are JUST BEGINNING to hand that over to her. I will never assume that anyone but she (and us) will be as careful as needed. At five or six, she simply didn't have the emotional/analytical maturity to make those decisions. Not even as bright as she is. (And she is-- she's entering 5th grade next week and she's 7.) But it is largely a matter of being able to adequately comprehend the consequences of making a bad decision, and also an ability to visualize how a food may have been handled by the person offering it to you, as well as evaluating whether or not a label is likely to accurately reflect cross-contamination risk (if this is something you worry about). This is pretty complicated, when you think about it.
At least as complicated as driving a car, wouldn't you say? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] I don't think I want my 7 yo doing that either. In fact, after riding with her at Disneyland, I [i]KNOW[/i] I don't! LOL!
My daughter is almost twice as old, and our rules are STILL pretty simple. Safe food comes from home-- from Mom and Dad. We have been telling her WHY for about three years. (Other kitchens use eggs, some companies don't tell if they share lines, etc...) She now [i]understands the REASONS[/i] for our rules/comfort zone. This is the first step to teaching her how to manage things herself.
I think you have to wait until they are developmentally ready for that, though, or it is just confusing to make exceptions.

Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 5:58am
notnutty's picture
Joined: 03/15/2004 - 09:00

A few of these recent school threads seem like a comfort zone issues to me. Each of us have our own comfort zones. My comfort zone was much tighter when my son was first diagnosed (he was 2). He now just turned 6 and is in Kindergarten. He does eat food at school. The snack is provided off a snack list I approved and he eats lunch everyday because the food is all peanut free.
My son knows that at snack time at school it is safe to eat. At lunch time at school it is safe to eat. However, he also understands that if Johnny offers him candy he can't eat it. We have not had any reactions during school hours this year and this is not a nut-free school.
In the end I think there are thousands of ways to deal with these issues. In time each of us comes up with our comfort zone that fits the unique needs of our children.
Yes, I still have issues with school, but snack and lunch time are not issues with us anymore. However, I do insist that the rules that have been set up are followed exactly as written. His teacher understands this and has been wonderful about following things exactly.

Posted on: Wed, 01/31/2007 - 9:58am
kandomom's picture
Joined: 01/12/2006 - 09:00

DD is 10.5yrs- from the beginning of her social life (preschool play dates) I started teaching her that other people have PA, but everyone handles the allergy differently. It does not matter how 'so and so' deals w/ it- she just needs to remember how WE deal with it.
Yes, this means that in some situations she does not eat the 'treat' at school, while the other PA person does.
Yes, this is not fair- but these situations have become part of her own experience/life. She does have her own treats at school, and can have that.
She is aware that the severity of PA can vary from person to person, and she does not appear contact/inhalation sensitive.
Now that she is older and starting to be 'on her own' more- I have to trust that she can make her own food decisions.
We've done a lot of modeling what to do in food situations. We talk about scenarios. And she does a fabulous job 'taking care of herself', in the situations a 10yr old would find themself in.
She either brings a snack along, or eats before she goes, or eats when she returns.
We took baby steps in the beginning w/ her managing the allergy, because the reality is that it will be/is HER responsibility. And she has to learn how to do it w/ confidence.

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