Helping Kids Cope with Celiac Disease
Kids may not understand or know how to manage gluten intolerance, or celiac disease, and parents might find it hard to watch their child struggle with it. However, being diagnosed with celiac disease doesn’t have to be a lifetime battle. Here are a few tips for parents to help their child cope with the disease.
When kids suffer from celiac disease, they are not always aware that, because of their disease, they have to stay away from food items made with gluten, nor would they know how to manage gluten intolerance. Parents may also find it difficult to watch their child struggling with the disease on a day-to-day basis. Below are some tips for parents to help their children cope with this medical condition:
- Do some research to find out about any events or camps that are solely dedicated to protecting children from gluten. Taking part in these events will help a child to stop worrying about any kind of cross-contamination or that they are drastically different from other kids.
- When baking cookies or cupcakes, try to involve the child as well to show them the fun and importance of cooking rather than it being just a regular, boring chore.
- Seek the help of a mentor. In certain cases, the child may have certain questions which, as a parent, you may not be able to answer. Direct them to the mentor so that they can help out with any questions or doubts the child has in mind.
- In the case of older children, make them aware of the scientific aspects of this particular illness. They should be educated about the basics of the disease. Once they have the knowledge, they themselves can then make certain changes in their diet, and whenever they are pushed to eat something, they can send it back or say no to it.
- Children should not have to miss out on eating what they love. Thankfully, there are so many gluten-free items available for consumption with equal amounts of taste. If children are excluded from certain foods, they may refuse to cooperate out of frustration.
- Instead of focusing on what the child cannot eat, the parent should instead focus on those items which the child can eat and make it enjoyable for them. At times, some of these gluten-free items may surprise them as well, since they may not have been aware that such products existed. This way, they can remain positive about gluten-free foods.
- Parents have to take the disease seriously because, in the case of an autoimmune disease, if the new diet is not followed properly, it can lead to damage to the body rather than doing good for the individual. So, it is very important to follow and maintain a gluten-free diet plan.
- Use proper terms with the child when explaining to them why they cannot eat certain things and that these items can still be enjoyed without the need for gluten. Also, try to stay positive and keep the child positive as well.
- Gluten is known to be a part of many food items, such as salad dressings, meat alternatives, and sauces. It comes in several forms, and so it is important to check food labels and to involve the child as well when reading those labels so they are aware which food items should be avoided.