For many families in Singapore, August is the start of the new school year and a time of change and new beginnings. Moving up a grade, unfamiliar teachers, different classmates, and new extra-curricular activities all mean that excitement, transition, and sometimes challenges lie ahead.
Being in a new classroom means that dietary needs will need to be communicated to teachers and often classmates too. The same goes for other school year’s activities, such as sports and field studies. As parents and caregivers, our inclination is to pave the way for our gluten-free kids, so obstacles along the way are minimized. And of course this is important, especially for younger kids. But at the same time, gluten-free kids need to feel empowered and equipped with both the knowledge and confidence to speak up for themselves.
We want our kids to feel comfortable managing their gluten-free diet for years to come, so think of the new school year as a stepping stone and training ground. While removed from the security and more controlled food environment of home, school still provides a relatively known (at least after the first few weeks!) and secure environment.
Here are two templates for communicating with your child’s school. You can use these to help you along when getting the back to school paperwork and medical information sorted out.
Credit and many thanks to Gluten Intolerance Group of North America for helping us out!