Family & Social Child Developement
How to host an allergy free kids party
Birthday parties always spell much excitement for children across all age groups. If you are a parent in Singapore with a young child in school, chances are that you will have a party to attend almost every other week. But when it comes to hosting a party for your young one and his/her friends, care must be taken to ensure that your party is allergen free. At least two out of your children's peer group could be sensitive to specific food. As a host, below are some tips to help you plan better.
Connect with the parents
Planning an allergy free party starts with gathering the right information. If your invitee list is short and you are calling each guest individually over the phone, make sure to bring up the subject with the respective parents. It will help you tremendously if you have this information before-hand. Once you know which child is allergic to which item, then it makes your job of planning far easier. In case it is a large guest list and you are sending the invites via e-mail or Whatsapp, make sure to add the question along with your invite.
Pay attention to the menu and goody bags
The most important aspect in organising an allergy free party is the food. If you are cooking the dishes yourself, then attention to detail is key. If you are using a ready-made sauce or food product, check the ingredients label for any allergens. A majority of food allergies are activated by milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat, so minimise these ingredients when planning the menu. To ease your work load, you could always get a professional team to help you out. These days most caterers in Singapore are adept at designing gluten free snacks or egg free birthday cakes. When it comes to goody bags, it is safer to choose items which are non-edible. Stickers, puzzles, books, stationary, games all prove to be excellent ideas for party favours. Also one less item for you to stress about!
Avoid cross contamination
To prevent cross contamination, label food items and keep them in separate serving dishes. Also take note during preparation of dishes to separate pots/pans and cooking utensils of any foods that might contain allergens. Parents will definitely appreciate this gesture. Hand wash facilities and wipes should also be easily accessible so that spreading of allergies via human contact can be minimised.
Keep your assistants informed
While throwing a party, you might have helpers or professional planners to help you with the food, games and guests. It is vital to keep them informed about the menu and also the children who have respective allergies. Make sure to coach them to be discreet and not draw unnecessary attention to these children.
Prepare for emergencies
No matter how enjoyable your party is turning out to be, one emergency situation is all that you need to make everything go haywire. Hence, it is vital to plan for emergency situations. Discuss with the parents and keep adequate stock of specific medicines that counter allergies. Here is a handy list of emergency phone numbers and first aid tips in case such allergy induced emergencies arise.
Welcome parental participation
In case of birthday parties that involve younger children below the age of 5, be open to the idea of their nanny or parent accompanying them. Even for older children, if the child is susceptible to an allergy and the guardian wishes to accompany him/her, it is best to encourage them. That way, the parents are not worried, and you are at ease. If at all they choose to bring their own food, be respectful of the same. That way everyone will feel comfortable and hence the whole event becomes more enjoyable.
With the above tips, you will find that catering to children with allergies is not such a big deal after all. When their friends have a great time, your children are automatically thrilled. The best part is that your party will become a memorable event for parents and kids alike!
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