Children and gluten
If you have a child with coeliac disease, it may feel very bewildering at first. It’s important to know that children learn new things and get used to them quickly. Young children rarely find it difficult to accept that they can’t always eat what those around them are eating. Children also learn to ask adults about gluten and about what they can and can’t eat.
CHILDREN AND GLUTEN AT HOME
A child’s gluten-free diet is easiest to keep track of at home. Keep different sets of bread and pasta and adjust dinners, snacks, and cakes so that everyone in the family eats the same. This helps to shift the focus away from your child’s gluten-free diet. This helps your child to feel like everyone else..
CHILDREN AND GLUTEN AT SCHOOL
When children reach school age, it’s common for them to start comparing themselves with their friends. They may think it unfair that they can’t eat gluten. Showing respect for these feelings is as important as emphasising that by eating a gluten-free diet, your child feels well and is healthy. Inform teachers and staff in the school cafeteria that your child must not eat gluten. It’s a good idea to provide a written statement that your child must eat a gluten-free diet. Even if your child’s gluten-free diet works well, it’s a good idea to remind staff about it when your child has a sports day or goes on a school trip. Give your child some “emergency supplies” just in case.
TEENAGE CHILDREN AND GLUTEN
Being different and having to say what you can and can’t eat can be both tedious and embarrassing for teenagers. Many also find it difficult to see the consequences of being “careless” with gluten. Meeting other young people with coeliac disease can offer good support. Get in touch with your local coeliac society and find out whether they have meetings or activities for young people with coeliac disease.