Prepare Your Child and Your Child's School For Reflux Away from Home
This is the first full week of school for many kids in our area. It is also the first time my reflux baby will attend school full time. As exciting and fun as the prospect of kindergarten should be, it was downright scary to have to rely on someone else to be in charge of my reflux baby's medication and meals. Here are a few tips I have learned along the way.
1. Mindful menu planning. It is safe to say that packing your child's lunch would be the easiest way to keep healthy "burn free foods" in your child's meal. Sometimes this works well but sometimes your child will want to eat like the rest of the kids. Most schools will provide the week's menu ahead of time so that you can plan which days your child will be able to eat school lunch. Our school goes above and beyond and will even let you come in and read labels to ensure that your child doesn't accidentally get something they shouldn't.
2. Talk with the teacher. In kindergarten the kids at our school get a snack in the afternoon. If my daughter's teacher had not been aware of what she can and can't eat she may have gotten something that hurt her tummy. Make sure your teacher knows what your child's food restrictions as well as any other accommodations that may have to be made. For example, if your child needs more bathroom breaks, medication at school or extra snacks. They should also be aware of any "signs" of problems. My daughter has asthma and her attacks usually start with a unrelenting dry cough. Her teacher knows to recognize this as a asthma sign and will send her to the nurse.
3. Notify the nurse. Don't assume that the nurse and teacher will communicate all of your child's needs to each other. That is your job. Make sure the nurse also has all of the pertinent information. Medications usually require extra paperwork and a physician signature so prepare ahead of time to insure they will be available when your child starts school. Medication side effects also need to be reported. For example, my daughter takes one medication for her GI issues that can increase the risk of heat exhaustion. Her teacher, nurse and PE coach have all been notified to keep an eye on her on hot days and we are able to send her with extra water to help keep her hydrated.
4. Chat with your child. Make sure your child knows to talk with the teacher if they are not feeling well. It can be helpful to introduce your child to the nurse and let them know if the nurse will be giving them medications at school. Double check that your school has a clear plan of action for your child and be sure to update all parties should something change. Allow your child some control over their illness by giving them clear guidelines about what they can and can't eat. My daughter is getting pretty good about telling others when she can't have something she is offered.
Banishing the burn from school can be hard but if you follow some of these tips it can help limit any incidents that could cause tummy troubles.