Valentine’s Day is coming up and so many parents of children with food allergies are faced with the issue of how to manage this day in a fun and safe way. It is hard to be a parent and face celebrations that always seem to include food. I now see it as an opportunity to create new traditions and be inventive.
I have broken down Valentine’s Day into 3 different scenarios with tips for each: at home, at school no-food allowed and at school food allowed.
I hope these tips make your Valentine’s Day is filled with fun and love!
Your home is always the best place to have your main celebrations. You control the environment and of course what food will be present. I have a few fun options for your at home celebration:
- Decorate your kitchen chairs with large hearts cut from construction paper and personalize them with names and cute sayings.
- Sprinkle the table with confetti and use fun colored plates and napkins. Have a love themed songs playing…Love Potion Number 9,
- I used to cut out foot prints or “heart prints” and lay them from my daughters’ doors to the kitchen table which I had decorate the night before. Heart pancakes are great morning treat. You can make sheet pancakes the day before from our Spellbook at www.foodallergywizards.com/free-downloads/ . Once you have made the sheet pancake use a heart shaped cookie cutter for pancakes to create hearts. Store in the refrigerator for the next morning. Breakfast made with love!
- Valentines Fondue! Melt allergy friendly chocolate* in a bowl and have cut up fruit, marshmallows, bite sized baked goods* such as cake & cookies.
*allergy choices that are safe for your family
- Red or Pink Food: You can choose to have red or pink foods or use a few drops of food coloring to color white macaroni and cheese, color your butter or spreads and of course frosting! Be aware too much food coloring can have a bitter taste.
- Bake a heart shaped cake! Click here for our doubly decadent chocolate cake and Classic Chocolate Frosting and Heart Shaped Hamburgers! www.foodallergywizards.com/Valentines/
I had the hardest time when trying to navigate the school and classrooms in my daughters’ school. It is best to find out ahead of time if the classroom will be celebrating with or without food. I learned I needed to be prepared for either scenario. The easiest way is if your childs’ classroom has put a no food policy in place for celebrating the day. Some ideas for some non-food classroom Valentines’ Day activities include:
- Arts-n-Crafts: Make your own craft: red, white and pink construction paper, doilies, heart stamps, markers, glitter, pom poms, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, confetti, glue, string and scissors.
- Project specific: Heart Garland: Cut out hearts and use a hole punch to create a hole in each one and string on yarn or twine. You can put the name of each child on each heart which they can decorate or leave plain.
- Everyone can bring in their favorite game to share over the whole week.
- Secret Valentine: Each child is assigned a classmate or can pick a name out of a bag and over the week they will do something kind for their secret valentine. A list of random acts of kindness would be helpful depending on the age of the children to choose from. On Valentine’s Day they all name who they believe was their secret valentine.
- I Heart…: Have the children use their hands to create a heart shape and take photos of them standing in front of something/ someone they love. Create a slide show to view on Valentine’s Day and send out to the parents.
Classroom with Food:
This is the most difficult for those who have children with food allergies. Being prepared, clear communication and a positive approach will help ensure a great and safe time!
- Email the teacher and outline your childs’ allergies and any protocols that need to be in place for your child to be safe. If you have already presented this information to the teacher in the beginning of the year then a simple checking in email to verify how Valentine’s Day will be celebrated in the classroom. If you are sending in treats, let the teacher know what you will be sending in ahead of time.
- Send in a few safe items that your child can eat and share with their classmates. Let them help create or choose what safe treats they will bring into school. You can decorate a container or bag with your child to hold the treats for added fun!
- Talk to your child before the celebration at school to review how they can stay safe and enjoy the day. Role play a few scenarios so they are prepared if they are offered a treat they can not eat or how to explain their allergies to their classmates.
Of course, the most important part are the actual Valentines! Here are a few of great Valentines kids can hand out in their classroom that are clever and fun.
1. Crazy Straws with a piece paper with a hole for yarn to tie them together. On the paper you can write or print out: I am crazy about you! From gingersnapcrafts.com
2. A Star Wars themed valentine to add an extra bonus you can use a hole punch and put a thin glow stick through it. May the force be with you! From: mommyevolution.com
3. A Maze in the shape of a heart! From: mommyevolution.com
4. A Paper Airplane valentine! From: catheholden.com